Skip to main content

Full text of "Statius"

See other formats



E. CAPPS, PH.D., LL.D. W. H. D. ROUSE, i.itt.d. 


















printed iti Great Britain. 






Book I- 

Statius to his friend Stella ... 2 

I. The statue of Domitian ... 6 
II. Epithalaiiiium in honour of Stella and 

Violentilla 14 

III. The villa of Manlius Vopiscus . . 38 

IV. To Kutilius Gallieus .... 46 
V. The baths of Claudius Etruscus . . 58 

VI. The Kalends of December . . . 6'4 

Book II— 

Statins to his friend Melior 
I. Glaucias 
11. The villa of Pollius Felix 

III. The tree of Atedius Melior 

IV. Melior's parrot 
V. The tame lion 

VI. To Flavins Ursus . 
VII. To Polla on Lucan's birthday 



Book III— 

Statins to his friend Pollius 
I. The temjile of Hei'cules at Surrentum 

II. To Maecius Celer .... 

III. To Claudius Etruscus 

IV. The tresses of Elavius Earinus 
V. To liis wife Claudia 

Book IV— 

Statius to his friend Marcellus 
I. The seventeenth consulship of Domitian 
n. To the Emperor Domitian 
III. The Domitian Road 
IV To Vitorius Marcellus 
V. To Septimius Severus 

VI. The Hercules statuette . 

VII. To Vibius Maximus 
VIII. To Julius Menecrates 

IX. To Plotius Grypus 
Book V— 

Statius to his friend Abascantus 
I. On the death of Priscilla 
II. The praises of Crispinus 

III. A lament for his father . 

IV. To Sleep ..... 

V. A lament for his adoj^ted son 
Fragment of a Poem on the German War 















. at beginning of volume 


PuBLius Papinius Statius was born at Naples, prob- 
ably about A.D. 40." His father was a native of 
Velia on the Lucanian coast, but had moved to 
Naples, where as " graniniatlcus " he conducted a 
school to which pupils came from all parts of Italy. 
Here he taught literature, which in the secondary 
school of the time meant poetry, with exposition of 
grammar, style, and antiquities ; he also instructed 
his pupils in augury and the various rites of the 
Roman state religion. He was himself a poet, and 
had won prizes in the Grecian contests, at Delphi, 
Nemea, and the Isthmus ; he had written a poem on 
the civil war of a.d. 69, and was planning another on 
the eruption of Vesuvius in 79, when he died. He 
was buried on an estate that he possessed near Alba. 
The younger Statius owed to his father's personal 
care and instruction all his education and poetical 
training, a debt which he acknowledges in terms of 
the warmest gratitude ; he soon gained fame as a 
poet himself, and won prizes at the local competitions 
in Naples, held at the festival of the Augustalia. 
Probably after his father's death he left Naples and 

" See references to his senium in Silv. iii. 5. 13, 24, iv. 4. 
70, V. 2. 158 ; the date also suits his father's Hfetime. Other 
information will be found for tlie most part in Silv. v. 3, 
and iii. 5. 


went to Rome, where he hved till the year Qi, writing 
poetry and declaiming extracts from his Thebaid 
before crowded audiences. He was awarded a prize 
in the annual poetical contest held by Domitian in 
honour of Minerva at his residence near Alba, but to 
his great disappointment, when he competed at the 
important Capitoline " Agon " in Rome, he met with 
failure. In Rome he married his wife Claudia, a 
widow with one daughter. The poet himself was 
childless, and adopted a slave-boy born in his own 
house, whose early death he mourns with real sorrow 
in his last, unfinished poem. About 9^ he returned 
in broken health to Naples, where he died, probably 
in 95 or 96. 

Although one may take Juvenal's word for it that 
Statins, in spite of the large crowds his recitations 
drew, made no money out of poetry, one need not 
assume that he lived in poverty and was forced to 
write libretti for the stage in order to make a living ; * 
there is nothing in his own wi'itings that implies it, 
while from the mention of his father's estate at Alba 
one would gather that he was ^t least moderately 
well off. The poet, at any rate, seems to have lived on 
terms of familiarity with the wealthy Pollius Felix 
and others, and his wife was the personal friend of 
Priscilla, whose husband Abascantus was secretary 
of state. It seems doubtful whether he formed part 
of any circle or group of poets ; his patrons were those 
of Martial, Atedius Melior, for instance, and Pollius 
Felix, but neither writer ever mentions the other, 
whence some have thought that there was a coolness 
between the two. This is not unlikely, for from what 
we know of the two men we should conclude that they 
" See Juv. vii. 82 sqq. 


were extremely uncongenial to each other. Juvenal 
indeed, is the only Latin writer before Sidonius 
Apollinaris who does mention Statius, though his 
influence upon later poets was strong. 

His relations with the Court were those of the 
humble aspirant to Imperial favour ; his poems upon 
the colossal equestrian statue of Domitian, the 
Emperor's 17th Consulship, the tresses of his favourite 
Earinus, and the banquet to which the Emperor 
invited him, are all marked by the flattery that the 
subservience of the times was eager to bestow ; 
Domitian affected to be a patron of letters, even a 
poet himself : it was one of the stock compliments of 
the time to wonder whether he were more brilliant 
a poet or a commander.'* Statius frequently men- 
tions his campaigns, and follows the convention of 
pretending to be planning a great work on the 
Emperor's wars, to which the actual epics are only 

Statius flourished in tlie middle of the Silver Age 
of Latin literature, coming after Seneca and Lucan 
(though born about the same time as the latter), 
before Juvenal, Tacitus, and the younger Pliny, and 
contemporary with Martial, Valerius Flaccus, and 
Quintilian. The later part of his life was thus spent 
under the Flavian dynasty, which in spite of its faults 
did really encourage letters. He also lived at a time 
when the practice of recitation had become a popular 
rage ; his pleasant voice, '^ his poetry, with its subtle 

« See Achilleid, i. 15. " See Thebald, i. 32, Ach. i. 19. 

'^ vocem iucundam, Juv. vii. 82 : for the dulcedo which 
Juvenal also mentions (1. 8i) see on Statius's versification 
(below) ; the word was probablj' the origin of Dante's line 
(put in Statius's niouth), " Tanto fu dolce mio vocale spirto " 
{Purg. xxi. 88). 



effects of alliteration and assonance, its brilliant 
passages, startling tricks of style and language, its 
avoidance of the obvious and occasional touches of 
the pathetic and the horrible, all this combined to 
tickle the ears and feelings of the popular audiences 
of the day." Or again, with an Italian's gift of rapid 
improvisation, he would delight a patron by dashing 
off a description of his villa in marvellously smooth 
hexameters, or obhge him with occasional verse on 
any subject, serious or trivial. 

The poetry of Statins shows many of the character- 
istics of the Silver Age. (i.) The rhetorical influence 
is evident, frequency of hyperbole, straining after 
epigram and point, superficiality and obedience to 
text-book models, (ii.) There is a tendency to realism 
which shows itself now in the petty, now in the 
horrible, as for instance in many of the battle-scenes 
of the Thehaid. (iii.) There is a general diminution of 
scale, characteristic perhaps of Silver periods of litera- 
ture, when the great subjects are exhausted and 
poets descend to more trivial themes ; or, if the 
grand themes are still attempted, the treatment is 
unequal to them, and lack of proportion is the 
inevitable result. The search for new matter takes 
the form of describing things that the great poets 
would not have thought worth describing, or not 
suitable to poetry. The Description, indeed, as such, 
the eK(/)/ja<rts, becomes a recogiiized literary form. 
(iv.) Another note of the age is the conscious learning 
which obtrudes itself into many a passage ; poets 
could draw on learned compilations of mythological 
matter and general information, on treatises dealing 

" See, for a satirical exaggeration of the picture, Persius 
i. 13 sqq. 


with anything from astronomy to horse-breeding, 
while audiences probably relished such compliments 
to their culture. 

The Sn.rjE "■ 

These are a collection of occasional poems, many 
of which were written hastily to order or just as the 
fancy seized the poet ; some, on the other hand, like 
the lament for his father (v. 3), are more carefully 
constructed. Six of them are Poems of Consolation, ** 
for the loss of a father, a wife or a favourite slave ; 
this was a type of composition of which the Romans 
were very fond, in prose as well as in poetry. They 
cannot be said to be the most successful examples of 
Statius's verse ; to our taste, at any rate, they appear 
artificial and exaggerated in tone, and lacking in real 
sentiment," also for the most part much too long. 
It should be said, however, that he was following 
the rules laid downi for that type of poem by the 
schools of rhetoric and obeyed by the poets. This 
applies also to other literary forms, for example, the 

" The word means literally " pieces of raw material," from 
sllva= Gk. iiX-q, i.e. pieces ready to be worked up into shape, 
or impromptu pieces; cf. Quint, x. 3. 17 " diversum est 
eorum vitium, qui primum decurrere per materiam stilo quam 
velocissimo volunt, et sequentes calorem atque impetum 
ex tempore scribunt ; hanc silvam vocant." " Their fault 
is different, who wish to run over their material first with as 
rapid a pen as possible, and write impromptu, following the 
inspiration of the moment : such work they call silva.'' Cf. 
also Aulus Gellius, Noct. Att. Pref. 6. 

*" Epicedion, or 'ETri/cijSeioi', from ktjSos, mourning, funeral 

" l',\cej)tions are v. 3, v. 5 and the passage at the end of 
ii. 1 (i>U8-end). 


Epithalamion (i. 2), a much more pleasing composi- 
tion, the Propempticon, or Farewell-piece (iii. 2), the 
Description ("EK(jbpao-ts, i. 3, i. 5, ii. 2, iv. 6), the 
Genethliacon (ii. 7), a name more commonly given to 
a poem wTitten for the birthday of a living person, 
while here the occasion is the anniversary of the 
birthday of the poet Lucan, who has been dead some 

More attractive again are such pieces as that on 
Atedius Melior's Tree (ii. 3), where Statius's hghtness 
of touch and fancy appears at its best, or the account 
of the entertainment given to the people by the 
Emperor on the Kalends of December (i. 6). The 
two imitations of Horatian lyric (iv. 5 and 7) are feeble, 
but the hendecasyllables of iv. 9 are spirited, and 
in the Lucan ode Statins succeeds in rising above 
the conventional, and there is real feehng in Calliope's 
lament for her favourite poet. The piece which he 
addresses to his wife Claudia is also marked by 
sincerity, and so are the two poems on the deaths of 
members of his own family, his father (v. 3) and his 
adopted son (v. 5) ; this latter poem is left unfinished, 
but it seems to have been planned with the same 
elaboration that we find in the case of the former. 
Best known of all the Silvae, probably, is the httle 
sonnet-like poem addressed to the god Sleep (v. 4). 

Statius's chief merit in this class of poetry consists 
perhaps, in his descriptive power, and to it we owe 
much of our knowledge of Roman society in the 
Flavian era. The scenes are varied, and include a 
state banquet given by the Emperor (iv. 2), a fashion- 
able wedding (i. 2), country-seats of patrons of Utera- 
ture (i.3,ii.2), funeral scenes (ii. l,ii. 6, etc.), the new 
road along the coast of Campania recently opened 


(iv. 3), an entertainment in the Amphitheatre (i. 6), 
Among the personages introduced are the poet's own 
friend and patron Polhus Fehx, wealthy and cultured, 
the literary Epicurean Manlius Vopiscus, the soldier 
Rutilius Gallicus, of noble birth and distinguished 
career, the young Maecius Celer, just off to the 
Syrian front, the art-collector Novius Vindex, the 
freedman Claudius Etruscus, who had risen from 
slavery to the position of secretary of finance to the 
Emperor Nero, one of the three great secretaryships 
of the early Empire. 

By far the greater number of these pieces are 
written in hexameters, a metre first applied by 
Statius, so far as we know, to the composition of 
genre poems of this kind, and employed with 
marvellous facility and ease ; the lines run smoothly, 
though without the extreme elaboration that we 
sometimes find in the Thebaid, and without great 
attention to variation of pause, or subtlety of allitera- 
tive effect. He displays wonderful skill in expres- 
sion and choice of phrase ; when describing, for 
instance, the water flowing in its silver channels in 
the Baths of Claudius Etruscus, he says (i. 5 . 48) : 

argento felix propellitur unda 
argentoque cadit, labrisque nitentibus instat 
delicias mirata suas et abire recusat. 

and, of the stream outside : 

extra autem niveo qui margine caerulus amnis 

In his address to his wife, again, speaking of the 
peacefulness of Naples, he says (iii. 5. 87) : 

nulla foro rabies aut strictae in iurgia leges, 
morum iura viris solum et sine fascibus aequum. 


As a poet who depicts the society of his time, Statius 
compares very favourably with Martial in avoiding 
the coarseness that was so prominent a feature of it, 
and his poetry reflects the sensitiveness of his 

The Thebaid and Aciiillfjd 

To be the author of a great epic poem is to count 
as one of the few great poets of the world, and it need 
hardly be said that Statius can make no claim to that 
honour. He stands with Apollonius, Lucan, and 
Valerius Flaccus in the second rank. Yet the Thebaid 
received high praise from the elder Scaliger and the 
post-Renaissance critics, and the tendency to-day is, 
if anything, to underrate its merits. It is, indeed, 
somewhat lacking in unity of theme, yet it must be 
remembered that much depends on the story chosen, 
and that of the Seven against Thebes is a difficult one 
to handle owing to the double interest : the Argive 
and the Theban strands are hard to combine satis- 
factorily ; in fact, the unity of the plot is a duality, 
i.e. the conflicting fortunes of the two brothers, and 
the real interest consists in the gradual approach and 
closer interweaving of the two " subjects," until, as 
in the stretto of a fugue, the climax is reached in the 
great duel of Bk. XI. Here, it is true, Statius might 
have stopped, with the Aeneid as his model, but the 
Theban legend is fruitful in incident, and it might be 
justly urged that the burial of the Argives, with the 
appeal of Theseus that it involves, together with the 
striking episode of the " strife of flames upon the 
funeral pyre " of the two rivals, formed a real part of 
the story ; it must be admitted, however, that the 


Thebaid does not end satisfactorily : that Statins was 
worried over it we may gather from a hint in the 
Silvae (iii. 2. US). H. W. Garrod has defended the 
Thebaid as an " episodic " epic, and that is probably 
its most conspicuous feature ; at the same time, 
though Statius had every right to make his poem 
episodic if he wished, it would be wrong to overlook 
the unity that it does possess, even if it is less obvious 
than in a story like the Argonautica, for example, or 
the Aeneid. 

The same critic has spoken of the poet's " tender- 
ness, mysticism, and piety^ — in short, his Christian- 
ity " ; it is true that the tenderness at times becomes 
sentimentality, at times a morbid emphasizing of the 
horrible, yet, generally speaking, Statius responds 
sympathetically to the tender emotions : Argia as 
wife and daughter, Hypsipyle in the anguish caused 
by the loss of the babe Opheltes, Antigone as sister, 
are faithfully drawn, and the relations of mother and 
son seem to have had a particular attraction for 
Statius, e.g. Atalanta and Parthenopaeus, Ismenis 
and Crenaeus in the Thebaid (notice, too, how many 
times he refers to Ino and Palaemon), Thetis and 
Achilles in the AchiUeid.'^ 

With regard to the gods, Jupiter and Nature are 
both referred to by Statius as supreme, quite apart 
from Fate or Destiny ; ^ he does not actually 
identify them, but we may see here a tendency to 

" In Virgil, as Warde Fowler has pointed out, the father- 
son relation is more prominent. Statius loves to describe 
children ; cf. the Opheltes episode, and the three epicedia 
(Silv. ii. 1, ii. 6, v. 5), and such touches as " qui pueris sopor " 
(Ach. i. 229). 

* There is also the mysterious triplkis mundi summum of 
iv. 516, for whom see note ad loc. 



syncretism, or the regarding of different deities as so 
many manifestations of one ultimate Power, charac- 
teristic of the time." This probably originated A\ith 
Stoicism, and Stoicism had become the religion of 
educated Romans, so far as they had one. " Dieu, 
c'est-a-dire Jupiter, et la Nature ne sont qu'un. Et 
cette raison divine, cette loi universelle, c'est le Fatum 
qui ne fait aussi qu'un avec la Nature et avec Dieu " 
(Legras, La Thebai'de.p.l60). Another apparent incon- 
sistency has been laid to the poet's account, in making 
Jupiter first announce his decision to embroil Argos 
and Thebes, and then attempt to deter the Argives 
on their march by hostile omens ; in this, however, 
he is doing no more than ancient wTitei's commonly 
do in accepting both divine warning by omen and 
divine irrevocable will without attempting to reconcile 
them. That Statius was not unaware of the difficulty 
can be gathered from his discussions of divination 
and of omens (iii. 551, vi. QS^). 

The divine personages who make up the super- 
natural machinery of the Thehaid are treated in the 
familiar, realistic manner of traditional epic ; certain 
personifications take their place among them, such as 
Sleep, Virtue, Piety ; the latter, in her well-meant 
effort to stop the duel of the brothers, is treated very 
unceremoniously by Tisiphone, and hustled off the 
battle-ground whence she flees complaining to the 
Thunderer (xi. t57 sq). Yet oc '''^- ^ly the poet 
strikes a higher note ; one of iie best known 
passages of the Thehaid is the description of the altar 
and grove of Clementia at Athens, in which the poet 
gives beautiful expression to the old Athenian ideal 

" Cf. also i. 696 sq. where Apollo is identified with 
Mithras, Osiris, etc. 


of humanity, lines that breatlie the spirit of a purer 
rehgion than any known to the ancient world, and 
may well have given rise to Dante's belief that 
Statius was a Christian. 

We may now consider briefly some further char- 
acteristics of the Thehaid. (I,) Statius revels in de- 
scription : in the first book we have the storm that 
Polynices encounters on his way to Argos, in Bk. II. 
the exciting narrative of the ambush set for Tydeus 
on his return from Thebes, in Bk. III. the auspice- 
taking, in Bk. IV. the necromancy. The games in 
Bk. \T. are well done, Statius, no doubt, owing 
several details to his own close observation in the 
Roman Circus, as, for example, in the boxing and 
WTCstling matches and the discus-throwing. In Bks. 
VII. and X. we have two set pieces, the abode of 
Mars and of Sleep respectively. Battle-pieces since 
Homer have, as a rule, been failures, in painting as 
well as in poetry ; those of the Silver Latin poets 
suggest the large canvases of third-rate Italian 
painters, depicting, for example, the capture of 
Constantinople by the Latins for the adornment of a 
ducal palace ; the same grim detail, the same hectic 
fui-y marks the battle-scenes of Statius. It is in 
description that his love of hyperbole becomes most 
manifest : the mountain in ii. 32 sq. is so high that 
the stars rest upon it, the sei-pent in v. 550 covers 
several acres, the Centaur plunging down from 
the mountain dams a whole river with his bulk, 
iv. 144<, etc. 

(II.) Passages of this kind, and also similes, are in 

many cases borrowed from previous poets, Virgil, 

Ovid, or Lucan. Statius in borrowing often adds 

details to fill out the picture, or elaborates the 

VOL. I b xvii 


language : often, too, he introduces a sentimental 
touch, i.e. he either attributes feeling to inanimate 
objects, or looks at the scene from the point of view 
of some living person : in ix. 90 the sea-resisting 
rock " feels no fear," or in the simile of the snake 
renewing its skin (iv. 93 sq.) a countrvman is intro- 
duced("a! miser agrestum;" etc.) Someof his similes 
are worthy of notice, for example, that which com- 
pares the calm produced by the majesty of Jove's 
utterance to that of lakes and streams under the 
tranquil influence of summer (iii. 253), or that of Pluto 
coming into his inheritance of the underworld (xi. 44-3). 
But we get rather tired of the endless bulls and boars 
to which his heroes are compared. 

(III.) Of Statius's inequality as a poet it is hardly 
necessary to speak ; he suffers from lack of judgement, 
rising now to the wildest heights of exaggeration and 
bombast, and now sinking to trivial and absurd detail, 
as when persons are described kissing each other 
through closed visors (" galeis iuvat oscula clausis 
inserere," iv. 20), or when Mercurj^'s hat gets wet in 
the rainstorms of Thrace (\di. 39)- At the same time 
there are lines of great poetic beauty : i. 336-341, 
a beautiful description of the rising moon, " her airy 
chariot hung with pearly dew " (Pope's transl.), and 
of Sleep's mysterious influence ; or the moonbeams 
^„«<». glinting on the bronze armour of the ambuscade 
(ii. 532), or a picture of sunrise on the fields in winter 
(iii. 468-9), or the last breeze dying away on droop- 
ing sails (i. 479-481) ; again, in i. 264-5, we seem to 
hear the beating of the gongs and the wailing of 
votaries by some sacred river of the East, while the 
mysterious figure of the Lydian Bacchus, the spirit 
of the golden river, appears dimly in " aut Hermi de 


fontibus aureus exis " (iv. 389). There is an effective 
touch in the duel of the brotliers, when the ghosts of 
Thebans are pei-mitted by Pluto to throng the hills 
around and watch the combat ; in the journey of 
Argia, too, in Bk. XII. there are some romantic 
scenes (xii. 228 sq., 250-54, 267-77). 

(IV.) His love of epigram and point has already 
been mentioned ; here we may notice that it is 
frequently seen at the ends of paragraphs, some- 
times producing an effect of overstrain, even of 
obscurity. Examples may be found in i. 335, i. 547 
(see note), i. 623, iii. 323, 498, v. 485, 533, vi. 795, 
X. 570. 

(V.) Statins has great skill in versification, which 
shows itself not perhaps so much in the ai't of varying 
the pauses and the rhythm of his lines, though in this 
respect he has learnt more from Virgil than either 
Ovid or Lucan, as in his use of assonance and allitera- 
tion. The latter especially repays study, both in the 
single line, e.g. i. 123, ii. 89, v. 14, v. 615, and in 
passages of two or three lines, in which usually one 
or two consonant or vowel sounds predominate, with 
others as subordinate, e.g. ii. 118-19 (" f "), ii. 538 sq. 
(" c," " t," with " f," " V," " h ") or even in longer 
passages, e.g. i. 342-54). There is also sometimes 
remarkable symmetry in words, see the simile in 
iv. 93 sq., where the verb " erigitur " connects two 
groups, each consisting of two sub-groups, in each of 
which again noun and adjective are arranged in a 
chiasmus, and he often brackets his phrase between 
noun and adjective or participle, as in ii. 252-3, 718-9. 
It was, no doubt, technique of this kind, combined 
with the pointed phrases, the appearance of familiar 
similes and descriptions in more elaborate form, and 



the sprinkling of recondite mythological allusion that 
made Statius a popular poet with the audiences of 
Flavian Rome. 

(VI.) Statius takes great liberties with the Latin 
language. There are phrases which it is impossible 
to make sense of, if taken grammatically and literally. 
Legras is reduced to despair by some, as by v. 115 
" vel iustos cuius pulsantia menses vota tument ? " 
he says " c'est, si on I'ose dire, un pur charabia" " ; 
so too " raptus ab omni sole dies " (v. 364), where 
the scholiast is compelled to exclaim " nove dictum ! " 
and, perhaps the most untranslatable of all, " viderat 
Inachias rapidum glomerare cohortes Bacchus iter " 
(\ii. 45). It is impossible, in translating, to do more 
than give the general sense ; the poet is here a 
pure " impressionist." Postgate has made a similar 
comment on the style of Propertius {Select Elegies, 
Introduction, p. Ix), " The outhnes of his pictures lack 
sharpness and precision, and the colours and even 
forms on his canvas tend to blend imperceptibly with 
each other. Thus it is the general impression that 
fascinates us in his poems, not the proportion and 
perfection of the details." Again, speaking of Pro- 
pertius' excessive subtlety of construction, he says 
" sometimes the sentence must be read as a whole, 
as it is almost impossible to give it a detailed con- 
struction. . . . Cf. i. 20. 24, where I have compared 
the tendency of the Greek tragedians to spread the 
meaning through a sentence rather than apportion it 
among the words." This verj' well expresses the 
character of the Statian phrase, and in this respect 
Statius is the successor of Propertius. Both poets 
perhaps were led to MTite in this way by an attempt 
" i.e. " pure gibberish." 


to avoid the hard ghtter of Latin, so suitable to the 
clear-cut phrase of Horace or the snap and polish of 
Ovid or Martial, and a longing for occasional half- 
tones, for lack of precision. Possibly it is due to 
Virgilian influence, for part of Virgil's genius consists 
in being able to give a soft, mysterious effect without 
any sense of unnaturalness. Statius aims at a like 
effect, but fails to avoid unnatvn-alness. 

(VII.) Psychologically, he is not conspicuous for 
remarkable insight ; it may be said, however, in his 
defence that the epic does not demand refinement in 
character drawing, which is rather the business of the 
drama. In the Thebaid, as, indeed, in the Aeneid, 
the treatment of character is broad : Amphiaraus the 
seer, Eteocles the fierce tyrant, Capaneus the scorner " ** 
of the gods, Hippomedon the stalwart warrior, 
Parthenopaeus the gallant youth, are all true to 
type ;<* more carefully drawn are Adrastus and his son- 
in-law Polynices ; the former is depicted as an elderly 
monarch, grave, kindly, diplomatic, and perhaps some- 
what lacking in decision, while the latter is shown 
as not altogether easy in mind, even diffident, about 
the undertaking, and ready to lapse into utter 
despair and to contemplate suicide when things go 
badly ; at the same time he is not quite ingenuous 
(see iii. 381-2), and on comparing him with his 
brother one feels there is not much to choose. 
Tydeus is vigorously drawn, especially in the episode 
of the embassy ; he becomes the mere warrior in 
Bk. X., and his memory is stained by the inhuman 
gnawing of his enemy's skull with which the book, 
and his career, closes. 

" It is not inconsistent with this to point out that Partheno- 
paeus is modelled on Virgil's Camilla. 



A few touches show some degree of insight : the 
people of Crotopus, king of Argos (in Adrastus' 
narrative), have just been saved from the awful 
pestilence sent on them by Apollo : " stupet Inacha 
pubes, magnaque post lacrimas etiamnunc gaudia 
pallent " (i. 619)) " the Inachian youth stand appalled 
and their joy, though great now sorrow is ended, even 
yet is pale and dim." Capaneus is said to be " largus 
animae modo suaserit ira " (iii. 603), " lavish of his 
life, should wrath but urge him," a development of the 
Horatian " animaeque magnae prodigum Paullum." 
The Argive leaders who have taken the place of those 
slain in the fight are " haud laeti seque hue crevisse 
dolentes " (x. 181), " feeling no joy, but grief that 
thev are raised so high." Thetis, urging the boy 
Achilles to don the girlish clothes, adds " nesciet hoc 
Chiron ' {Ach. i. 274), " Chiron will not know of it." 

The plot of the Thehaid was probably modelled on 
the vast Epic of Antimachus {ji. c. 400 e.g.), which 
Cicero calls " magnum illud volumen," and of which 
Porphyrio tells us that the author had completed 
twenty-four books before the Argive host had been 
brought to Thebes. Statius, though he took only 
six books in doing it, has been criticized for un- 
necessary delay in arriving at Thebes, but he Mas 
probablv wise, as twelve books of battle-scenes would 
have rendered his work as unreadable as the seven- 
teen books of Silius Italicus' Punica. 

The following is a summary of the chief events of 
the Thehaid : i. 1-45, Invocation of the Emperor. 
45-311, Oedipus, who has blinded himself, invokes 
Tisiphone and curses his sons : she hears him and 
hurries to Thebes ; the brothers, full of mutual hate, 
agree to reign alternately ; the lot falls on Eteocles, 


and Polynices reluctantly departs. Jupiter an- 
nounces his decision to set Argos against Thebes. 
312-720, Polynices' journey to Argos and his ex- 
periences there, ii. 1-33, Apparition of the shade of 
Laius to Eteocles. 134-305, Wedding celebrations of 
Polynices and Tydeus at Argos. 306-743, and iii. 
1-439, Tydeus goes on embassy to Thebes, the 
ambush set for him, his victory and return. 440-721, 
Auspice-taking ; war is decided on at Argos. iv. 
1-344, Catalogue of the Argive host. 345-645, 
Plight of Thebes : neci'omancy. 646-842 and v. 1-16, 
Bacchus causes the Argives to be delayed by thirst : 
they are saved by Hypsipyle, nurse of Opheltes, 
infant son of Lycurgus, king of Nemea. 17-498, 
Narrative of Hypsipyle. 499-753, Death of Opheltes. 
vi. 1-248, Funeral rites of Opheltes. 249-946, 
Funeral games, vii. 1-397, Catalogueofthe Thebans. 
398-823, The fighting begins : disappeai-ance of the 
augur Amphiaraus. viii. 1-342, Amphiaraus's recep- 
tion in the underworld ; his successor is appointed. 
342-766, Exploits and Death of Tydeus. ix. 1-569, 
Exploits and Death of Hippomedon. 570-907, Fears 
of Atalanta for Parthenopaeus : his death, x. 1-261, 
Intervention of Juno. 262-448, Night-raid and 
devotion of Hopleus and Dymas. 449-826, Devotion 
of Menoeceus. 827-936, Death of Capaneus. xi. 
1-314, Preparations for the duel between the brothers. 
315-761 , The duel. Exile of Oedipus, and end of the 
war. xii. 1-463, Funeral rites of the Thebans. De- 
votion of Antigone and Ai-gia. 464-809, Intervention 
of Theseus, after supplication of Argive woinen at 

In the concluding lines of the poem Statins exhorts 
his Thebaid to follow far behind the divine Aeneicl 


and to reverence its footsteps ; " from them we may 
gather that he was hnmble enough not to thmk of 
himself as a rival of \ irgil, though acknowledging 
that poet as the chief inspirer of his work. In fact, 
the plan and chief incidents of the Aeneid seem to be 
reproduced with an astonishing scrupulousness in the 
Thehaid. \'irgil, however, was not the only poet 
whom Statius laid under contril)ution ; an analysis 
of the Thebaid shows that Ovid and Lucan, and in a 
lesser degree Seneca and Valerius Flaccus, have 
incidents, or at any rate, details borrowed from them 
by our author.* In versification he is, on the whole, 
0\idian ; there is no trace of Virgil's gravity, or of 
Lucan's heaviness, but the hexameter is predomi- 
nantly the smooth, unehded line of Ovid, though the 
hephthemimeral pause and caesura, characteristic of 
Silver Latin verse, is frequent. 

As for the authorities on whom Statius drew for the 
actual story of the Seven, we have already referred 
to the Thebaid of Antimachus ; its fragments, how- 

" nee tu divinam Aeneida tempta, 

sed longe sequere et vestigia semper adora. 

Cf. also references in the Silvae, iv. 4. 53, iv. 7. 25. 

'' e.^. Virgil: i. \Q1 sqq.= Aen.'i.'iSSsqq.; x.lsqq.; ii.l33 = 
Aen. YU.Sil ;theArgive rush to arms, and Catalogue (Bk. 1 1 1.) 
= Aen. vii. 572, etc., the Games. Parthenopaeus= Camilla; 
Hopleus and Dvmas= Nisus and Eurvalus, and manv others. 

Lucan: iv. 369, etc. = P;;ars. i. 469, 674; iv. i2o=Ph. 
iv. 324. 

Ovid : v. 505= Met. iii. 32 ; vi. 825, etc.= Met. ix. 33 (c/. 
also Luc. PJi. iv. 655). 

Seneca : ii. 269, etc.= Medea, 734 etc. ; iv. 443= Oed. 556. 

Homer is also largely followed in the funeral rites and 
games of Bk. VI., and in the river fight of Bk. IX. (//. xvii., 
xviii., and xxi.). Also some of the episodes of the night raid 
(Bk. X. ) are from the JJoloneia. 


ever, are so scanty that any estimate of his debt 
to it must be purely conjectural, and the same 
applies to the Oedipodeia and Thehais of the Epic 
Cycle. Of extant authors, Aeschylus and Sophocles 
appear to have contributed comparatively little, for, 
to take one or two instances, tlie character of 
Eteocles is quite diiferent in Aeschylus's-S'gp^ew, and in 
Sophocles' Oedipus Rex Jocasta commits suicide and 
Oedipus leaves the city immediately after the dis- 
covery, while in the Thebaid they are both there all 
the time. On the other hand the Phoenissae of 
Euripides is closely followed (probably also the 
Hypsipiile^) and Seneca's P/ioenissae. For the narra- 
tive of Hypsipyle both Statius and Valerius Flaccus 
elaborate considerably on the simpler account of 
Apollonius of Rhodes. 

There is, in fact, little if anything to show that 
Statius has done more than work on the traditional 
epic material in a manner that seemed to him best 
suited to the requirements of his audience ; that he 
was successful and enjoyed considerable popularity 
as a poet we may gather both from the passage of 
Juvenal quoted above and from the closing lines of 
the poem itself (xii. 812-15) : 

iam certe praesens tibi Fama benignum 
stravit iter coepitque novam monstrare futuris. 
iam te magnanimus dignatur noscere Caesar, 
Itala iam studio discit memoratque iuventus. 

" Of a truth already present Fame hath of her bounty 
paved thy way, and begun to hold thee up, young as 
thou art, to future ages. Already great-hearted 

" There are a number of verbal parallels with the 


Caesar deigns to know thee, and the youth of Italy 
eagerly learns and recounts thy verse." 

The fame that Statius so anxiously yearned for 
was his throughout the Middle Ages. His epic, 
though of the ancient world, seems to herald the new 
age : Amphiaraus is almost the warrior bishop, 
Chaucer, indeed, calls him " the bisshop Amphiorax " ; 
dragons, sorcerers, enchanted woods, maidens waving 
to their lovers from high turrets, and other romantic 
features fill the pages of his poem, while its actual 
influence can be traced in medieval literature." All 
readers of Dante remember the meeting of Statius 
and \'irgil in Purgatory (Cantos 21, 22), and the 
touching lines in which the poet narrates the recogni- 
tion of \irgi! by his humble and admiring follower. 
Dante's belief that Statius was a Christian was due, 
according to Comparetti,^ to the latter's reverence 
for Virgil, whom the Middle Ages accepted as a 
prophet of Christ on the strength of the Fourth 
Eclogue. Mr. P. H. Wicksteed thinks that the 
words of xii. 496 " ignotae tantum felicibus arae " 
(" the altar is unknown only to the prosperous ") 
may have led to an identification with the altar to 
the Unknown God, " ignoto Deo," seen at Athens 
by St. Paul (Acts xvii. 23).'= See also A. W. Verrall's 

" For Amphiorax see Chaucer, Trolhis and Criseyde, ii. 
103 ; dragons, i. 600, v. 505, sorcerers, iv. -1'43, x. 600, wood, 
iv. 419, maidens, iv. 89, vi. 546, AcJi. ii. 23. Chaucer's 
Knight's Tale has borrowed largely from the Thebaid 
(through Boccaccio's Teseide), and its influence is seen in 
a poem entitled the " Lamentations of Oedipus, King of 
Thebes " (Anthology of Mediaeval Latin, S. Gaselee, 1925). 

'' Virgil in the Middle Ages, Chapter vii. 

" Essay.t in Commemoration of Dante: "Dante and the 
Latin Poets," 1921. 


ingenious suggestions in " The Altar of Mercy " 
(^Collected Literary Essays, 1913). Besides this there 
is a conjecture of Prof. Slater : Statius, as we know 
from Silv. iv. 4. 5S, Avas in the habit of frequenting 
the tomb of Virgil outside Naples ; he suggests that 
this fact, together with the well-known tradition of 
St. Paul's visit to that spot, may have given rise to 
a story of the meeting of the two, and of Statius 's 
conversion to Christianity as the result.'* 

It is quite possible, however, that Dante origin- 
ated the idea for his OAvn purposes ; this was the 
opinion of Benvenuto, the commentator on Dante 
(quoted by Vernon, Readings on the Purgatorio, 
ii. 188), and there seems to be no earlier tradition. 
When Dante and Virgil meet Statius, he is in the 
Circle of Avarice, where he has been 500 years, 
having previously spent 300 in the Ante-Purgatory, 
and 400 in the Circle of Sloth. The latter punish- 
ment was due, as he explains, to his unreadiness to 
declare himself a Christian, the former to his prodi- 
gality (by which, apparently, Dante accounts for his 
poverty, see Juvenal vii. 82). Statius enlightens 
Dante on two matters, first, the natural causes of 
winds and earthquakes (C. 21, cf. Theb. vii. 809 sq.), 
and second, the nature of the soul when separated 
from the body (C. 25). This latter knowledge 
depended to some extent on revealed truth, for 
which Statius needs to be a Christian. If it be 
asked why Statius was chosen, the answer may be 
(i.) that he was highly esteemed in the Middle 
Ages, (ii.) that his Epic contains similar discussions, 
though certainly none so long (auguiy, iii. 482, 551, 

" Introduction to translation of Silvae, Oxford, 1908. 



physiology of horses, vi. 333, omens, vi. 93i, earth- 
quakes, vii, 809). 

The Achilleid 

Owing to tlie poet's ill-health and comparatively 
early death no more than 1127 lines of this epic 
appear to have ever been ^\Titten. In them Ave have 
the \asit of Thetis, anxious for her son at the out- 
break of the Trojan War, to Chiron, under whose 
charge he is ; she conveys the youthful Achilles to 
Scvros, disguises him as a girl and entrusts him to the 
care of King Lycomedes ; then come the deception 
of Deidaniia, the discovery of Achilles by Ulysses and 
Diomede, and his departure for Troy. There the 
fragment ends. 

The poet's style is simpler and less artificial than 
in the Thebaid, and the narrative flows more evenly. 
The most successful pai't of it is undoubtedly the 
discovery of Achilles, i. 675-920, while the story of 
his introduction to and courtship of Deidamia is 
also well told. 

The mss. of Statius 

The " Silvae" 

The only ms. that deserves separate notice is the 
fifteenth-century MS. at Madrid (hence known as 
Matritensis), from which it has been proved that all 
other existing mss. are derived (see Klotz, Introduction 
to the Silvae, Teubner edition). Besides this ms., 
designated M, there are a certain number of emenda- 
tions entered by PoHtian in a copy of the first edition 
in the Corsinian library at Rome ; some of these he 


expressly describes as taken from an old ms. he has 
recently discovered (1494'), which ms. he says is that 
which Poggio, the Renaissance scholar, brought into 
Italy fronr Gaul. He also says that from this MS. all 
other Mss. are derived, but although we can say the 
same of M we cannot identify it with Poggio's ms., 
for (i.) Politian states that the line Silv. i. 4. 86a, which 
is in M and subsequent mss., was not in Poggio's. 
(ii.) Some of the excerpts fi'om the latter differ from 
M. (iii.) He would not have called a fifteenth-century 
MS. " vetustus." '^ This ms. of Poggio is usually 
identified with the one that Poggio says he sent to 
Florence in 1416 or 1417, from Constance or St. Gall, 
which was probably a copy of a much older one 
that he found there. It is quite possible, however, 
tliat it was the original that he sent to Florence, 
and not a copy, and Politian's description of Poggio's 
MS. as " vetustus " would help this identification. 
See the Classical Review, Nos. 15-17, 20, 26, 27, 32.* 

M : codex Matritensis M 31, dated about 1430. 
Ml : first hand, i.e. transcriber of the ms. 
M2 : second hand, i.e. first corrector of the ms. 
m : later correctors. 

Ij : codex I^aurentianus (only of ii. 7), dated 
tenth century. 

" It should be added that some of Politian's emendations in 
the Corsinian copy appear to be of the same date as those 
stated by him to be from Poggio's ms., and may therefore 
also come from there. 

'' Also J. S. Phillimore's Introduction to SUvae (Oxford 
Classical Texts). Prof. A. C. Clark would identify Poggio's 
MS. with M (Introduction to Asconius, Oxford Classical 
Texts, p. xxxi); holding that Politian must have been 



Pol. : emendations of Politian (fifteenth century), 
if from Poggio's MS., " from P." is added. 

Dom. : Emendations of Domitius Calderinus 
(fifteenth century). 

5" : later mss. 

The " Thehaid " and " Achilleid " 

The MSS. of the Thehaid, and in a lesser degree, of 
the Achilleid are extremely numerous, the former 
epic especially ha\ing been verj- popular in the 
Middle Ages. They fall into two well-defined 
groups, of which one has only one representative, 
the so-called Puteanus, at Paris, wTitten at the end 
of the ninth century, and the other consists of a 
number of mss. of the tenth and eleventh centui'ies, 
the offspring of a ms. now lost, but dating from nearly 
a century before Puteanus. These, following the 
Teubner and Oxford editions," I have designated P 
and oj respectively. When any particular one of the 
latter class is quoted, w, of course, signifies the other 
members of the group. Later mss. may be ignored. 

There are remarkable differences between the two 
groups ; the most striking Mill be found at iv. 555, 
X. 135, xi. 490, but on frequent occasions the differ- 
ence is one that can hardlv be accounted for on 
grounds of ordinary textual error.* H. W. Garrod 
in his Introduction to the Thehaid and Achilleid 

« Bj' A. Klotz (Teubner) and H. W. Garrod (Oxford 
Classical Texts). 

6 See, for instance. Theh. iii. 36-2, 370, 373, AH, 454, .527, 
658, 699. 


suggests that the double tradition may be due to a 
revised edition made by the poet himself." 

On the whole the readings of P are to be preferred, 
and they deserve careful consideration even when 
they seem most difficult ; but in many cases it is 
only judgement that can decide what Statins could or 
could not have written. Though the mss. that form 
the oj-group hang very much together, D and N have 
perhaps more individuality than the others, see 
Garrod, Introd. pp. ix, x. 

The Achilleid is found in P and in a number of the 
oj-group ; also in a ms. denoted E, in the College 
Library at Eton. 

P : codex Puteanus (Parisinus 8051), end of 

ninth century. 
Q : codex Parisinus 10317, tenth century. 
K : codex Gudianus 54, tenth to eleventh 


(These contain both Thehakl and Achilleid). 
S : codex Parisinus ISO^O, tenth century. 
D : MS. at St. John's Coll. Camb., tenth century. 
N : MS. at Cheltenham, tenth to eleventh 

B : codex Bambergensis, eleventh century. 
C : codex Cassellanus, 164, eleventh century. 
L : codex Lipsiensis, i. 12, eleventh century. 

(These contain only the Thebaid). 
E : codex Etonensis, tenth or eleventh century, 

{Achilleid only). 
M : consensus of mss. other than P. 

" P. viii : he quotes references in the letters to Stella and 
Marcellus {Silv. i. and iv.), where two editions seem to be 
implied; also T//^6. xii. 812-13 (novam). Klotz dissents, 
but without giving any satisfactory reason (p. Ixx). 



Books 1-5 of the Thebaid were translated into 
English verse by T. Stephens in \Q\S, the Achilleid 
by Sir R. Howard in 1660; Book I. of the Thehaid 
by Pope in 1703 ; extracts from Book VI. by Gray in 
1736; and all the Thehaid by W. L. Lewis in 1766. 
A prose translation of the Silvae by Prof. D. A. 
Slater was published by the Oxford Press in 1908. 
The only modern edition of the Silvae is that of 
Vollmer, Leipzig, 1898. There is no modern edition 
of the Thebaid or Achilleid. 

For criticism, etc., see chapters in Butler's Post- 
Augustan Poetry, Oxford, 1909; Summers' Silver Age 
of Latin Literature, Methuen, 1920; B. A. Wise, 
The Injluence of Statius on Chaucer, 1911 5 T. S. 
Duncan, The Injiuence of Art on Description in the 
Poetry of Statius, 1914; J- M. Nisard, Poe<^* latins 
de la Decadence, 1849; L. Legras, La Thebaide de 
Stace, Paris, 1905. 

No Index has been made to the poems of Statius. 
The naines that occur in them, and the adjectives 
formed from names, are so numerous that no good 
purpose would be served by including them all. 
The chief characters of the Thebaid and the books 
in which they occur will be found in the Summary 
of Events (Introduction, pp. xxii, xxiii), while in 
the ease of the Silvae the individuals to whom the 
different poems are addressed or those whom they 
commemorate will be found in the list of Contents 
of Vol. I (pp. V. vi). 




Statius Stellae Suo Salutem 

Diu multumque dubitavi, Stella, iuvenis optime et 
in studiis nostris eniinentissime, qua parte voluisti, 
an hos libellos, qui mihi subito calore et quadam 
festinandi voluptate fluxerunt, cum singuli de sinu 
nieo prodierint/ congregates ipse dimitterem. Quid 
enim oportet me huius^ quoque auctoritate editionis 
onerari, qui adhuc pro Thebaide mea, quamvis me 
reliquerit, timeo ? Sed et Culicem legimus et 
Batrachomachiam etiam agnoscimus, nee quisquam 
est inlustrium poetarum qui non aliquid operibus 
suis stilo remissiore praeluserit. Quid ? Quod haec 
serum erat continere, cum ilia vos certe, quorum 
honori data sunt, haberetis ? Sed apud ceteros 
necesse est multum illis pereat ex venia, cum 
amiserint quam solam habuerunt gratiam cele- 

^ Lacnna in Mss. after pro : prodierint Pol., prodiissent S~. 
* Lacuna in mss. after eniin : oportet me huius Dom. 

" One of Virgil's earliest works, probably to be identified 
with the extant poem of that name ; see note on Sil'v. ii. 7. 74. 

*" Usually known as Batrachomyomachia, or Battle of the 
Frogs and Mice, popularly attributed to Homer, a burlesque 
of the warlike epic. 



Statius to his Friend Stella : Greeting ! 

Long and seriously have I hesitated, my excellent 
Stella — distinguished as you are in your chosen 
branch of our common pursuit — about these pieces 
of mine, which were produced in the heat of the 
moment and by a kind of joyful glow of improvisa- 
tion, whether I should collect them, after they have 
issued one by one from my bosom, and send them 
forth together. For why should I burden myself 
with the responsibility for this additional publica- 
tion, when I am still apprehensive for my Thehaid, 
although it has left my hands ? But we read the 
" Gnat,"'* and deign to recognize even the " Battle 
of the Frogs " ^ ; nor is there any of the great poets 
who has not made prelude to liis works in lighter 
vein. Again, was it not too late to keep these 
poems back, when others were already in the posses- 
sion of those in whose honour they were written 
(yourself among them) ? Yet with most people 
much of their claim to a lenient judgement must 
disappear, since they have lost their impromptu 
nature, the only charm that they possessed. For 



ritatis. Nullum enim ex illis biduo longius tractum, 
quaedam et in singulis diebus effusa ; quam timeo, 
ne verum istuc versus quoque ipsi de se probent ! 

Primus libellus sacrosanctum habet testem : sumen- 
dum enim erat " a love principium." Centum hos 
versus, quos in equum maximum feci, indulgentissimo 
imperatori postero die, quam dedicaverat opus, 
tradere iussus sum. " Potuisti illud " dicet aliquis 
" et ante vidisse." Respondebis illi tu, Stella caris- 
sime, qui epithalamion tuum, quod mihi iniunxeras, 
scis biduo scriptum. Audacter mehercles, sed ter 
centum tamen^ hexametros habet, et fortasse tu pro 
collega mentieris. Manilius certe Vopiscus, vir 
eruditissimus et qui praecipue vindicat a situ litteras 
iam paene fugientes, solet ultro quoque nomine meo 
gloriari, villam Tiburtinam suam descriptam a nobis 
uno die. Sequitm* libellus Rutilio Gallico convale- 
scenti^ dedicatus, de quo nihil dico, ne videar defuncti 
testis occasione mentiri. Nam Claudi Etrusci testi- 
monium documentum^ est, qui balneolum a me suum 
intra moram cenae recepit. In fine sunt Kalendae 
Decembres, quibus utique creditur : noctem enim 
illam fehcissimam et voluptatibus pubUcis in- 
expertam . . . . .^ 

^ ter centum tamen Elter : tantum tamen M. 

^ convalescenti Scriverius and Heinsius : est valent M 
{above valent, fee, erased by M2), est valenti Pol. 

^ documentum Klotz : domomum M, commodum or 
idoneum Phlllimore. 

* Seven or eight lines of the page left empty in uss. 


none of them took longei- than two days to write, 
while some were turned out in a single day. How 
I fear lest the poems themselves make that only too 
plain ! 

The first piece can appeal to a witness of inviolable 
sanctity: for "from Jove must I needs begin."** 
These hundred lines on the Great Horse I was 
bidden deliver to our most indulgent Prince the 
day after he had dedicated it. " Possibly," some 
one will say, " you had seen the statue already." 
You will answer him, my dearest Stella, you who 
know that the Epithalamium you demanded of me 
was wTitten in two days. A bold piece of work, by 
Hercules ! but all the same it contains three hundred 
hexameters — and perhaps you will tell a fib for a 
colleague. Certainly Manilius Vopiscus, a man of 
great erudition, who is foremost in rescuing from 
decay our almost vanishing literature, often boasts 
on my account, and quite spontaneously, that my 
sketch of his country-house at Tibur was done in 
one day. Then comes a poem dedicated to Rutilius 
Gallicus on his recovery from sickness, upon which I 
say notliing, lest I seem to be taking advantage of 
the death of my witness to exaggerate. For I can 
prove my case by the evidence of Claudius Etruscus, 
who received his " Bath " from me within the in- 
terval of a dinner. Last comes " The Kalends of 
December," wliich at all events will find credence : 
for a jiight so happily spent and so unprecedented 
for public amusements . . . 

" A solemn formula with which hymns to the gods often 
began, cf. (k Ajos apx^iJ^ecrda (Theocr. /(/. 17. 1), "a love 
principium " (Virg. Eel. 3. 60). 


Quae superimposito moles geminata colosso 
Stat Latium complexa forum ? caelone peractum 
fluxit opus ? Siculis an conformata caminis 
effigies lassum Steropem Brontemque reliquit ? 
an te Palladiae talem, Germanice, nobis 5 

effinxere manus, qualem modo frena tenentem 
Rhenus et attoniti vidit domus ardua Daci ? 

Nunc age Fama prior notum per saecula nornen 
Dardanii miretur equi, cui vertice sacro 
Dindymon et caesis decrevit frondibus Ide : 10 

hunc neque discissis cepissent Pergama muris 
nee grege permixto pueri innuptaeque puellae 
ipse nee Aeneas nee magnus duceret Hector ! 
adde, quod iDe nocens saevosque amplexus Achivos, 
hunc mitis commendat eques : iuvat ora tueri 15 

mixta notis belli placidamque gerentia pacem. 
nee veris maiora putes : par forma decorque, 
par honor, exhaustis Martem non altius armis 
Bistonius portat sonipes magnoque superbit 
pondere nee tardo^ raptus prope flumina cursu 20 
fumat et ingenti propellit Strymona flatu. 

1 tardo M : tanto or -us Pol., tantum Phill. 

" Two of the Cyclopes who laboured at the forges of 

* i.e., of Pallas Athene, goddess of handicrafts. 

" The reference is to Domitian's campaigns against the 
Catti, a German tribe from the Taunus, who were threatening 
Mainz (a.d. 83-84) ; for this victory he received the title of 
" Germanicus " ; also to the defeat of the Dacians in a.d. 89. 
" Arduous," because their stronghold was in the mountains 
of Transylvania : hence " montem," 1. 80. 

<^ i.e., Thracian. 


SILVAE, I. I. 1-21 


This statue ivas dedicated to Domitian perhaps about 
A.D. 91 (i. 36)/ its appearance and position are described ; 
it is hailed by Curtius ; the poet declares it to be as immortal 
as Rome. 

What mighty mass redoubled by the huge form 
surmounting it stands gathering to itself the Latian 
forum ? Did it glide dov/n, a completed work, 
from heaven ? Was the effigy moulded in Sicilian 
furnaces, leaving Brontes and Steropes* weary? or 
have Palladian hands ^ sculptured thee for us, O Ger- 
manicus, in such guise as Rhine of late beheld thee 
reining thy steed, and the astounded Dacian's 
arduous home '' ? 

Come, now, let Fame of old time marvel at the 
age-long wonder of the Dardan horse, for whom 
Dindymon abased his sacred head and Ida was 
shorn of her leafy groves. This horse would Per- 
gamum ne'er have held, though wide its walls were 
rent, nor could the mingled throng of lads and un- 
wedded girls have drawn it, nor Aeneas himself nor 
mighty Hector ! That one, besides, was harmful, 
and contained fierce Achaeans : this one is com- 
mended by his gentle rider. 'Tis a pleasure to 
behold that countenance whereon the marks of war 
are blended with the guise of tranquil peace. And 
think not that truth is here surpassed ; equal beauty 
and splendour has he, and equal dignity. Not more 
loftily does the Bistonian '^ steed bear Mars when the 
fighting is done, exulting in the mighty weight, and 
swiftly flies by the river till he is all asteam and with 
his strong blowing stirs up the waves of Strymon. 


ST ATI us 

Par operi sedes. hinc obvia limina pandit, 
qui fessus bellis adscitae^ munere prolis 
primus iter nostris ostendit in aethera divis ; 
discit et e vultu, quantum tu mitior armis, 25 

qui nee in externos facilis saevire furores 
das Cattis Dacisque fidem. te signa ferente 
et minor in leges gener et Cato Caesaris iret.^ 
at laterum passus hinc lulia tecta tuentur, 
illinc belligeri sublimis regia Pauli, 30 

terga Pater, blandoque videt Concordia vultu. 

Ipse autem puro celsum caput aere saeptus 
templa superfulges et prospectare videris, 
an nova contemptis surgant Palatia flammis 
pulchrius, an tacita vigilet face Troicus ignis 35 

atque exploratas iam laudet Vesta ministras. 
dextra vetat pugnas,^ laevam Tritonia virgo 
non gravat et sectae praetendens colla Medusae : 
ceu stimulis accendit equum ; nee dulcior usquam 
lecta deae sedes nee si, Pater, ipse tenei-es. 40 

pectora, quae mundi valeant evolvere curas, 

* adscitae M : adsertae 5~. 

^ gener et Cato Caesaris iret Scriverius and Housman 
{see ManUius, p. Lrvii) : iret gener et Cato castris M. 
^ pugnas Pol. : pugnes 3f. 

° The statue is opposite the temple of Divus Julius (the 
first of the Roman Emperors to be deified), dedicated by 
Augustus in 27 b.c, on either side of it are the Basilicas of 
Julius Caesar and Aemilius Lepidus respectively, i.e. on the 
right and left of one looking down the Forum away from 
the Capitol ; behind it is the temple of Jupiter on the 
Capitol, and that of Concord. 

* Julius Caesar adopted Octavian, his great-nephew, as 
his son. 

SILVAE, I. I. 22-41 

Well suited to the work are its surroundings." 
Here facing it he opens wide his portals, who weary 
with warfare, by the gift of his adopted son,* first 
showed our deities the way to heaven ; and from 
thy face he leai-ns thy greater gentleness in arms, 
who not even against the foreigner's rage art easily 
stern, but with Cattians and with Dacians makest 
bond. Under thy leadership both his son-in-law, now 
the lesser'' man, and Cato had bowed to Caesar's sway. 
Lengthwise thy flanks are guarded, on this hand 
by the Julian edifice, on that by the high basilica 
of warlike Paullus ; thy back the Sire beholds, and 
Concord with tranquil brow. 

Thou thyself with lofty head enshrined in the 
pure air dost tower resplendent over the temples, 
and seemest to look forth to see whether the new 
Palace, despising the flames, be rising in greater 
beauty, or whether the brand of Trojan fire keep 
silent watch, and \^esta now be praising the proved 
worth of her ministrants.*^ Thy right hand bids 
battles cease ; thy left the Tritonian maiden '" over- 
burdens not, and holding out Medusa's sevei'ed head 
incites thy steed as with a goad ; never had the 
goddess choicer resting-place, not even if thou, O 
Father, didst hold her. Thy breast is such as might 
avail to solve the riddles of the universe, and thereon 

" The point is that the son-in-law was Ponipej' " the 
(ireat " (Magnus). 

''■ Domitian had recently punished one of the Vestals for 
unchastity (Suet. Dom. 8). Domitian, looking slightly to 
his right, woukl see the temple of Vesta, and the Palatine 
rising above it ; his new buildings there are referred to by 
Suetonius {l>om. 5). The sacred fire brought from Troy 
was kept concealed in the temple of Vesta, cf. v. 3. 178 
" facis opertae." " i.e., Pallas. 



et quis^ se totis Temese dedit hausta metallis ; 

it tergo demissa clilamys ; latus ense qiiieto 

securum, magnus quanto mucrone minatur 

noctibus hibernis et sidera terret Orion. 45 

at sonipes habitus animosque iniitatus equestres 

acrius attollit vultus cursumque minatui' ; 

cui rigidis stant colla iubis vivusque per armos 

impetus et tantis calcaribus ilia late 

sufFeetura patent ; vacuae pro caespite terrae 50 

aerea captivi erinem tegit ungula Rheni. 

hunc et Adrasteus visum extimuisset Arion 

et pavet aspiciens Ledaeus ab aede propinqua 

Cyllarus. hie domini numquam mutabit habenas 

perpetuus frenis atque uni scr\"iet astro ! 55 

\ix sola sufficiunt insessaque pondere tanto^ 

subter anhelat humus ; nee ferro aut aere : laborant 

sub genio, teneat quamvis aeterna crepido, 

quae superingesti portaret culmina mentis 

caeliferique attrita genu durasset Atlantis. 60 

Nee longae traxere morae. iuvat ipsa labores 

forma dei praesens operique intenta iuventus 

miratur plus posse manus. strepit ardua pulsu 

machina ; continuus septem per culmina Martis^ 

it fragor et magnae vincit* vaga murmura Romae. 

^ et quis 5' : et qui M, et cui 5~ ; it, cui Phill. 

^ tanto r : toto 31. 

^ Martis Gronovius : montis M (from 59). 

* vincit Heinsius : fingit 3/, frangit conj. Phill. 

" A town in Bruttii, on the west coast, famous for copper- 
mines ; cf. Odyssey, i. 1 84. 

SILVAE, I. I. 42-05 

Temese" has exhausted tlie wealth of all her mines ; a 
cloak hangs from thy shoulders ; the sword sleeps 
by thy untroubled side : even so vast a blade does 
threatening Orion wield on winter nights and terrify 
the stars. But the steed, counterfeiting the proud 
mien and high mettle of a horse, tosses his head 
in greater spirit and makes as though to move ; the 
mane stands stiff upon his neck, his shoulders thrill 
with life, and his flanks spread wide enough for 
those mighty spurs ; in place of a clod of empty 
earth his brazen hoof tramples the hair of captive 
Rhine. Seeing him, Adrastus' horse Arion^ would 
have been sore afraid, yea Castor's Cyllarus fears 
as he looks forth upon him from his neighbouring 
temple. Never will this steed suffer another master's 
rein ; this curb is his for ever, one star, and one 
star only will he serve. Scarce doth the soil hold, 
and the ground pants beneath the pressure of 
so vast a weight ; and not of iron or bronze : 
'tis under thy deity it trembles, ay, even should 
an everlasting rock support thee, such as would 
bear the peaks of a mountain piled upon it, or 
have endured to be pressed by the knee of heaven- 
sustaining Atlas. 

No lengthy tarrying drew out the time. The 
present beauty of the god itself makes labour sweet, 
and the workmen intent upon their task marvel at 
their greater vigour. Towering cranes creak and 
rattle ; continuous runs the roar over the seven 
heights of Mars, and drowns the wandering noises 
of mighty Rome. 

'' The horse of Adrastus, king of Argos, leader of the 
Seven against Thebes; see Theb. vi. 301. Neptune was 
supposed to have been his father. 



Ipse loci custos, cuius sacrata vorago 66 

famosique lacus nomen memnrabile servant, 
innumei'os aeris sonitus et verbere crudo 
ut sensit mugire forum, movet horrida sancto 
era situ meritaque caput venerabile quercu. 70 

ac primum ingentes habitus lucemque coruscam 
expavit niaioi-is equi terque ardua mersit 
coUa lacu trepidans, laetus mox praeside viso : 
" salve, magnorum proles genitorque deorum, 
auditum longe numen mihi ! nunc mea felix, 75 
nunc veneranda palus, cum te prope nosse tuumque 
immortale iubar vicina sede tueri 
concessum. semel auctor ego inventorque salutis 
Romuleae : tu bella lovis, tu proelia Rheni, 
tu civile nefas, tu tardum in foedera montem 80 

longo Marte domas. quod si te nostra tulissent 
saecula, temptasses me non audente profundo 
ire lacu, sed Roma tuas tenuisset habenas." 

Cedat equus, Latiae qui contra templa Diones 
Caesarei stat sede fori — quem traderis ausus 85 

Pellaeo, Lysippe, duci, mox Caesaris ora 
rairata cervice tulit — vix lumine fesso 
explores, quam longus in hunc despectus ab illo. 

" i.e., Curtius who saved Rome by leaping into a chasm 
in the Forum ; for his " devotion " see Livy, i. 12, vii. 6. 
The place was known as the " lacus Curtius." As one who 
had saved the lives of citizens he wears the crown of oak- 
leaves, the " corona civica." 

* i.e., of the Dacians, as frequenth^ 

" i.e., in the fighting on the Capitol which took place after 
Vespasian's accession. 

^ An equestrian statue of Julius Caesar in the Forum 

SILVAE, I. I. 66-88 

The guai-dian" of the spot himself, whose memorable 
name the hallowed chasm and famous pools preserve, 
hearing the ceaseless clash of bronze and the Forum 
echoing with vigorous blows, raises his grisly visage, 
venerable even in decay, and his head revered for 
the well-deserved oak-wreath. And first, affrighted 
at the huge form and flashing glance of a mightier 
steed, he thrice in dismay bowed his lofty neck 
beneath the lake ; then, joyful at the sight of his 
prince : " Hail, offspring and sire of mighty deities," 
he cries, " whose godhead I heard of from afar ! 
Now is my lake blessed, now is it holy, since it has 
been granted me to know thee nigh at hand, and 
from my neighbouring seat to watch thy immortal 
brightness. Once only was I the author and winner 
of salvation for the folk of Romulus : thou dost win 
the wars of Jove and the battles of the Rhine,'' thou 
dost quell the strife of citizens,'' and in long warfare 
constrain the tardy mountain to submit. But if our 
age had borne thee, thou wouldest have ventured 
to plunge into the lake's depths, though I dared 
not ; but Rome would have held back thy rein." 

Let that steed '^ give place, whose statue stands in 
Caesar's Forum, over against Dione's shrine — thy 
daring work, 'tis said, Lysippus, for the Pellaean 
chief; thereafter on marvelling back he bore the 
effigy of Caesar — scarce could your straining sight 
discover how far the downward view from this 
monarch to that. Who is so boorish as to deny, 

Julium opposite the temple of Venus Genetrix, called "Latia" 
here as being the mother of Aeneas, and so of the Roman 
race. Both forum and temple were built by Caesar out of 
his Gallic spoils. Probably Caesar's head was substituted 
for Alexander's ; the practice was common at Rome, cf. 
Suet. Caligula, 92. 



([ids riidis usque adeo, qui non, ut viderit anibos, 
tantuni dicat equos quantum distare regentes ? 90 

Non hoc inibriferas hienies opus aut lovis ignem 
tergeminun:i, Aeolii non agmina carceris horret 
annorumve moras : stabit, dum terra polusque, 
dum Romana dies, hue et sub nocte silenti, 
cum superis terrena placent, tua turba relicto 95 

labetur caelo miscebitque oscula iuxta. 
ibit in amplexus natus fraterque paterque 
et soror : una locum cervix dabit omnibus astris. 

Utere perpetuum popuh magnique senatus 
munere. Apelleae cuperent te scribere cerae 100 
optassetque novo similem te ponere templo 
Atticus Elei senior lovis, et tua mitis 
ora Tarans, tua sidereas imitantia flammas 
lumina contempto mallet Rhodes aspera Phoebo. 
certus ames terras et quae tibi templa dicamus, 105 
ipse colas ; nee te caeli iuvet aula, tuosque 
laetus huic dono videas dare tura nepotes. 


Unde sacro Latii sonuerunt carmine montes ? 

» Caesar's statue was probably on a lower pedestal ; 
Caesar is as far inferior to Domitian as a ruler as the one 
statue is beneath the other ! 

*" Often for deified members of the Imperial house, cf. 
Theb. i. 31. 

" i.e., Phidias. 

"* The famous Colossus was a statue of the sun-god. 
There was a colossal statue of Zeus at Tarentum. 


SILVAE, I. I. 89—11. 1 

when he lias seen both, that ruler differs from ruler 
as steed from steed " ? 

This statue fears no rainy squalls of winter or 
triple fire of Jove, nor the cohorts of Aeolus' prison- 
house nor the long hngering years : it will stand while 
earth and sky abide, while Rome's sun endures. 
Hither also in the silent night, when things of earth 
find favour with the gods above, will thy kinsfolk, 
leaving heaven, glide down and join with thee in 
close embrace. Son and brother, sire and sister 
will seek thy welcoming arms : about thy sole neck 
Avill cluster all heaven's stars. ^ 

Enjoy for ever the people's and the mighty Senate's 
gift. Fain would the wax of Apelles have portrayed 
thee, and the old Athenian'^ would have longed to set 
thy likeness in a new temple of Elean Jove ; yea, soft 
Tarentum would rather have thy visage, and fiei-ce 
Rhodes, scorning her Phoebus,'' thy flame-like glance. 
Keep thy aff"ections fixed on earth, and inhabit thyself 
the shrines we dedicate to thee ; let not heaven's 
high court delight thee, but mayst thou joyously 
see thy grandsons offer incense to this our gift. 


A marriage-song in honour of Lucius Arruntius Stella 
and his bride Violentilla. Stella was a young noble, a poet 
and a friend of Statins ; he was one of the XVviri (see n. 
on I. 176), and had held some curule office. The poem con- 
tains a long episode relating hoio Venus and one of her 
Cupids brouglit about the match ; the usual features of an 
Epithalamium {praise of the pair, description of tlie bride, 
and of the marriage-festival) are freely treated. 

Whence comes this sound of divine melody upon 



cui, Paean, nova plectra moves umeroque comanti 
facundum suspendis ebur ? procul ecce canoro 
demigrant Helicone deae quatiuntque novena 
lampade solemnem thalamis coeuntibus ignem 5 

et de Pieriis vocalem fontibus undam. 
quas inter vultu petulans Elegea propinquat 
celsior adsueto divasque hortatur et ambit 
alternum fultm-a^ pedem decimamque videri 
se cupit et medias fallit permixta sorores. 10 

ipsa manu nuptam genetrix Aeneia duxit 
lumina demissam et dulci probitate rubentem, 
ipsa toros et sacra parat cinctuque^ Latino 
dissimulata deam crinem vultusque genasque 
temperat atque nova gestit minor ire marita. 15 

Nosco diem causasque sacri : te concinit iste — 
pande fores ! — te, Stella, chorus ; tibi Phoebus et 

et de Maenalia volucer Tegeaticus umbra 
serta ferunt. nee blandus Amor nee Gratia cessat 
amplexum niveos optatae coniugis artus 20 

floribus innumeris et olenti spargere nimbo. 
tu modo fronte rosas, viohs modo hlia mixta 
excipis et dominae niveis a vultibus obstas. 

Ergo dies aderat Parcai'um conditus albo 
vellere, quo Stellae \'io]entillaeque professus 25 

clamaretur hymen, cedant curaeque metusque, 
cessent mendaces obhqui carminis astus, 

^ fultura S" : futura M, factura m, furata Sandstroem. 
^ cinctuque Barthhts : coetuque M, cestuque Phill. 

" The elegiac couplet has the pentameter as its second 
line, composed of five instead of six feet : cf. Ovid, Am. 
iii. 1.8" et, piito, pes illi (Elegeia) longior alter erat." The 
second line, therefore, limps. We may suppose that Stella 
had MTitten love-poetrj' in this metre. 


SILVAE, I. II. 2-27 

the Latian hills ? For whom, O Paean, dost thou 
ply thy quill anew and hang the eloquent ivory 
from thy tress-strewn shoulders ? Lo ! far away 
the goddesses troop down fi*om musical Helicon, 
and toss on high with ninefold torch the flame that 
hallows wedded union and streams of song from 
Pierian fountains. Among them pert-faced Elegy 
draws nigh, loftier of mien than is her wont, and 
implores the goddesses as she goes about, fain to 
support her one lame foot,** and desires to make a 
tenth Muse and mingles with the Sisters unper- 
ceived. The mother of Aeneas * with her own hand 
leads forth the bride, downcast of look and the 
sweet blush of chastity upon her ; herself she pre- 
pares the couch and the sacred rites, and with a 
Latin girdle dissembles her deity and tempers the 
brilliance of eyes and cheeks and tresses, eager to 
yield before the new bride. 

Ah, now do I learn what day is this, what hath 
caused this solemn rite : 'tis thou, Stella, thou 
whom that choir — fling wide the gates ! — is hymning ; 
for thee Phoebus and Euhan and the swift Tegean " 
from the shades of Maenalus bring garlands. Nor do 
winsome Love and Grace grow weary in scattering 
countless blossoms and cloudy perfumes o'er thee 
as thou boldest close-locked the snow-white limbs 
of thy longed-for bride. And now roses, now lilies 
mixed with violets dost thou receive upon thy brow, 
as thou shieldest the fair face of thy mistress. 

This then was the day, laid up in the white wool 
of the Fates, whereon the marriage-song of Stella 
and Violentilla should be proclaimed and sung. 
Let cares and fears give place, and .the clever hints 

'' i.e., Venus. " i.e., Bacchus and Mercury. 

VOL. I c 17 


Fama tace : subiit leges et frena momordit 
ille solutus amoi- : consumpta est fabula vulgi 
et narrata diu viderunt oscula eives. 30 

tu tamen attonitus, quani\ds data eopia tantae 
noctis, adhuc optas permissaque numine dextro 
vota paves, pone, o duleis, suspiria, vates, 
pone : tua est. licet expositum per limen aperto 
ire, redire gradu : iam nusquani ianitor aut lex 35 
aut pudor. amplexu tandem satiare petito — ■ 
contigit ! — et duras pariter reniiniscere noctes. 

Digna qiiidem merces, et si tibi luno labores 
Herculeos, Stygiis et si concurrere nionstris 
Fata darent, si Cyaneos raperere per aestus. 40 

hanc propter tanti Pisaea lege trementem 
currere et Oenomai fremitus audire sequentis. 
nee si Dardania pastor temerarius Ida 
sedisses, haec dona forent, nee si alma per auras 
te potius prensum aveheret^ Tithonia biga. 45 

Sed quae causa toros inopinaque gaudia vati 
attulit ? hie mecum, dum fervent agmine postes 
atriaque et multa pulsantur limina virga, 
hie, Erato iocunda, doce. vacat apta movere 
colloquia et docti norunt audire penates. 50 

Forte, serenati qua stat plaga lactea caeli, 
alma Venus thalamo pulsa modo nocte iacebat 
amplexu duro Getici resoluta mariti. 

^ prensum Parrhasius, aveheret Baehrens : prensa 
veheret M. 

" The dangerous clashing rocks at the Bosporus. 

^ Suitors for the hand of Hippodamia, daughter of 
Oenomaus, were challenged by him to a chariot-race, on 
condition of forfeiting their lives if they were beaten. 

' Aurora was the wife of Tithonus. 

"* i.e., Thracian. 


SILVAE, I. II. 28-53 

of lying fables cease, and, Rumour, be thou silent ; 
that love that ranged so free now brooks control and 
takes the bridle ; we have done with gossip and our 
citizens have seen the kisses so long talked of. Yet 
thou in bewilderment — although a night so marvel- 
lous has been granted thee — still dost pray, and art 
affrighted that kindly heaven has given thee thy 
wish. Sigh no more, sweet poet, she is thine. 
The door lies open, and thou canst come and go 
with fearless step : no doorkeeper, no rule of honour 
stays thee now. At last take thy fill of the desired 
embrace — it is thine to take ! — and remember the 
while those nights of misery. 

Worthy indeed were thy reward, even though 
Juno set thee Herculean toils, and the Fates gave 
thee monsters to contend withal, though thou wert 
swept through the Cyanean surge." To gain her it 
were worth while to run the race in terror of Pisa's 
law * and hear the shouts of Oenomaus in hot pursuit. 
Nor had such a prize been thine, hadst thou, a bold 
shephei'd lad, held thy court on Dardan Ida, nor 
though the warm-hearted Dawn ^ had preferred thee, 
and snatched thee up and borne thee in her chariot 
through the air. 

But what was the cause that brought to the poet 
the unhoped-for joys of wedlock ? Do thou teach 
me, lovely Erato, here by my side, while the halls 
and portals are astir with folk, and many a staff beats 
upon the threshold. Time permits apt converse, and 
the poet's home knows well how to listen. 

Once on a time, where the milky region is set in 
a tranquil heaven, lay kindly Venus in her bower, 
whence night had but lately fled, faint in the rough 
embrace of her Getic^ lord. About the posts and 



fulcra torosque deae tenerum premit agmen Amorum; 
signa petunt qua ferre faces, quae pectora figi 55 
imperet ; an terris saevire an malit in undis, 
an miscere deos an adhuc vexare Tonantem. 
ipsi animus nondum nee cordi fixa voluntas, 
fessa iacet stratis, ubi quondam conscia culpae 
Lemnia depi-enso repserunt vineula lecto. 60 

hie puer e turba volucrum, cui plurimus ignis 
ore manuque levi numquam frustrata sagitta, 
agmine de medio tenera sic dulce profatur 
voce — pharetrati pressere silentia fratres. 

" Scis ut, mater," ait " nulla mihi dextera segnis 65 
militia ; quemcumque hominum divumque dedisti, 
uritur. at quondam lacrimis et supplice dextra 
et votis precibusque virum concede moveri, 
o genetrix : duro nee enim ex adamante creati, 
sed tua turba sumus. clarus de gente Latina 70 

est iuvenis, quern patriciis maioribus ortum 
nobilitas gavisa tulit praesagaque formae 
protinus e nostro posuit cognomina caelo. 
hunc egomet tota quondam — tibi dulce — pharetra 
improbus et densa trepidantem cuspide fixi. 75 

quamvis Ausoniis multum gener ille petitus 
matribus, edomui victum dominaeque potentis 
ferre iugum et longos iussi sperare per annos. 
ast illam summa leviter — sic namque iubebas — 
lampade parcentes et inerti strinximus arcu. 80 

ex illo quantos iuvenis premat anxius ignes, 
testis ego attonitus, quantum me nocte dieque 

" i.e., made by Hephaestus, whose forges were in the 
island of Lemnos. For the story see Odyssey, viii. 266. 


SILVAE, I. II. 54-82 

pillows of hei* couch swarm a troop of tender Loves, 
begging her make sign where she bids them bear 
her torches, what hearts they shall transfix : whether 
to wreak their cruelty on land or sea, to set gods at 
variance or yet once more to vex the Thunderer. 
Herself she has yet no purpose, no certain will or 
pleasure. Weary she hes upon her cushions, where 
once the Lemnian chains " crept over the bed and 
held it fast, leai'iiing its guilty secret. Then a boy 
of that winged crowd, whose mouth was fieriest and 
Avhose deft hand ne'er sent his arrow amiss, from 
the midst of the troop thus called to her in liis sweet 
boyish voice — his quivered brethren held their peace. 
" Mother," says he, " thou knowest how no war- 
fare finds my right hand idle ; whomsoe'er of gods 
or men thou dost assign me, he feels the smart. Yet 
once, O Mother, suffer us to be moved by the tears 
and suppliant hands, by the vows and prayers of 
men ; for not of steely adamant are we born, but are 
all thy offspring. There is a youth of famous Latin 
family, whom nobility rejoicing brought forth of old 
patrician stock, and in prescience of his beauty named 
straightway from our sky. Him ere now have I 
plied relentlessly — such was thy pleasure — with all 
my quiver's armoury, and pierced him to his dismay 
with a thick hail of darts ; and for all he is much 
sought by Ausonian matrons as a son-in-law, I have 
quelled and mastered him, and bidden him bear a 
noble lady's yoke and spend long years in hoping. 
But her we spared — such was thy command — and did 
but lightly graze with the flame's tip and loose- 
strung bow. Since then I can bear marvelling 
witness what fires the heart-sick youth is smothering, 
what strong urgency of mine he suffei-s night and day. 


ST ATI us 

urgentem ferat. haud ulli vehementior umquam 
incubui, genetrix, iterataque vulnera fodi. 
vidi ego et immiti cupidum decurrere campo 85 

Hippomenen, nee sic nieta pallebat in ipsa ; 
\idi et Abydeni iuvenis certantia reniis 
bracchia laudavique manus et saepe natanti 
praeluxi : minor ille calor, quo saeva tepebant 
aequora : tu veteres, iuvenis, transgressus amores. 
ipse ego te tantos stupui durasse per aestus 91 

firmavique animos blandisque madentia plumis 
lumina detersi. quotiens mihi questus Apollo, 
sic vatem maerere suum ! iam, mater, amatos 
indulge thalamos. noster comes ille piusque 95 

signifer ; armiferos poterat memorare labores 
claraque facta \'irum et torrentes sanguine campos, 
sed tibi plectra dedit mitisque incedere vates 
maluit et nostra laurum subtexere myrto. 
hie iuvenum lapsus suaque aut externa revoUit 100 
vulnera ; pro ! quanta est Paphii reverentia, mater, 
numinis : hie nostrae deflevit fata columbae." 

Finierat^ ; tenera matris cervice pependit 
blandus et admotis tepefecit pectora pennis. 
ilia refert vultu non aspernata rogari : 105 

" grande quidem rarumque \iris, quos ipsa probavi, 
Pierius votum iuvenis cupit. hanc ego formae 
egregium mirata decus, cui gloria patrum 
et generis certabat honos, tellure cadentem 
excepi fo\ique sinu nee colla genasque 110 

^ finierat S" : emis erat M, finis erat Pol. 

" The successful suitor to the hand of Atalanta, whom he 
defeated in a race. * i.e., Leander. 

' Stella, we maj' gather, had written a poem on the 
death of a dove (a bird sacred to Venus) ; the parallel of 

SILVAE, I. II. 83-110 

None ever, mother, have I so fiercely pressed, 
thrustmg home oft -repeated wounds. And yet I 
saw eager Hippomenes'' run the cruel coui'se, but 
even at the very goal he was not so pale ; and I saw, 
too, the youth of Abydos,^ whose arms did vie with 
oars, and praised his skill and often shone before him 
as he swam : yet less was that heat wherewith the 
savage sea grew warm ; thou, O youth, hast sur- 
passed those loves of old. I myself, amazed that 
thou couldest endure such gusts of passion, have 
strengthened thy resolve and wiped thy streaming 
eyes -with soothing plumes. How oft has Apollo com- 
plained to me of his poet's grief ! Grant him at 
last, O Mother, the bride of his desire. Our comrade 
is he, and loyally bears our standard ; he could tell of 
armed prowess and heroes' famous deeds and fields 
flowing with blood, but his quill is dedicate to thee 
and he prefers to walk in gentle poethood and twine 
our myrtle with bay. The follies of lovers are his 
theme, and his own or others' wounds ; O Mother, 
what reverence hath he for thy Paphian godhead ! 
'twas he that bewailed the death of our poor dove." ^ 
He made an end, and from his mother's soft neck 
hung persuasive, making her bosom warm with his 
covering wings. With a look that scorned not his 
petition she replied : "A large request and rarely 
granted e'en to lovers that I myself have proved, 
this of Pieria's young votary ! Marvelling at this 
maiden's peerless beauty, that rivalled the glory of 
her sires and her family's renown, I took her to me 
at her birth and cherished her in my bosom : nor, 
child, has my hand grown weary of giving comeliness 

Lesbia's sparrow (Catullus 2, 3), suggests that the dove was 



comere nee pingui crinem deducere amonio 
cessavit mea, nate, nianus. mihi dulcis imago 
prosiluit. celsae procul aspice frontis honores 
suggestumque eomae. Latias metire quid ultra 
emineat matres : quantum Latonia nymplias 115 

virgo premit quantumque egomet Nereidas exsto. 
haec et caeruleis meeum consurgere digna 
fluctibus et nostra potuit considere coneha ; 
et si flammigeras potuisset scandere sedes 
hasque intrai-e domos, ipsi erraretis, Amores. 120 

huic quamvis census dederim largita beatos, 
vincit opes animo. querimur iam Seras avaros 
angustum spoliare nemus Clymenaeaque deesse 
germina nee virides satis inlacrimare sorores, 
vellera Sidonio iam pauca rubeseere tabo 125 

raraque longaevis nivibus crystalla gelari. 
huic Hermum fulvoque Tagum decurrere limo, 
- — nee satis ad cultus — huie Inda monilia Glaucum 
Proteaque atque omnem Nereida quaerere iussi. 
banc si Thessalicos vidisses, Phoebe, per agros 130 
erraret secura Daphne, si in^ htore Naxi 
Theseum iuxta foret haec conspecta cubile, 
Gnosida desertam profugus hquisset et Euhan. 
quod nisi me longis placasset luno querehs, 
falsus huic pennas et cornua sumeret aethrae 135 
rector, in banc vero^ cecidisset luppiter auro. 

^ Daphne, si in Baehrens : dafnes in M, Daphne, sin 

* vero M : verso Herzog, alio, fulvo, pluvio Markland, 
iteruni Burmann. "^ 

" " Seres " : here the reference is to cotton, as " nemus " 
shows, cf, Pliny's mention of " lanigerae arbores Serum," 
N.II. xii. 10. " Clymenaeaque germina ": amber, because the 
Heliades who wept tears of amber for Phaethon their brother 
were daughters of Hehos (the Sun) and Clymene. " virides 

SILVAE, I. II. 111-136 

to face and form and smoothing with rich bahii her 
tresses. She has grown up my own sweet image. 
Behold even from here the lofty beauty of her brow 
and high-piled hair. Reckon how far she doth 
tower above the matrons of Rome : even so far 
as the Latonian maid out-tops the nymphs, or I 
myself stand out above the Nereids. This girl is 
worthy to rise with me from out the dark-blue waves ; 
she could sit with me upon my chariot-shell. Nay, 
could she have climbed to the flaming mansions and 
entered this abode, even you, ye Loves, would be 
deceived. Although in my bounty I have given her 
the boon of wealth, her mind is a yet richer dower. 
Ah-eady I complain that the avaricious Seres are 
stripping their diminished groves, that Clymene's 
fruit is failing, that the green Sisters weep not tears 
enough ; that already too few fleeces are blushing 
with Sidonian dye, and too rarely freeze the crystals 
of the immemorial snows." For her Tagus and 
Hermus at my bidding run down their yellow sand — 
nor yet do they suffice for her arraying ; for her 
Glaucus and Proteus and every Nereid go in search 
of Indian necklaces. If thou, Phoebus, hadst seen 
her on the fields of Thessaly, Daphne had wandered 
unafraid. If on Naxos' shore she had been spied 
by Theseus' couch, Euhan, too, would have fled 
from the Cretan maid and left her desolate. Nay, 
had not Juno appeased me by her endless plaint, 
heaven's lord would for this maid have taken the 
disguise of horns or feathers, on her lap had Jove 
descended in true gold. But the youth whom thou 

sorores " : because they were turned into poplars, "cry- 
stalla " : crystals were thought to be formed from ice, c/, 
Propertius, iv. 3. 52 " crystallus aquosa." 


ST ATI us 

sed dabitur iuveni, cui tu, mea summa potestas, 
nate, cupis, thalanii quamvis iuga ferre secundi 
saepe neget niaerens. ipsam iani cedere sensi 
inque viceni tepuisse viro." 

Sic fata levavit 140 

sidereos artus thalamique egressa superbum 
limen Amyclaeos ad frena citavit olores. 
iungit Amor laetanique vehens per nubila niatrem 
gemmato temone sedet. iam Thybridis arces 
Iliacae : pandit nitidos donius alta penates 145 

claraque gaudentes plauserunt liniina cygni. 
digna deae sedes, nitidis nee sordet ab astris. 
hie Libycus Phrvgiusque silex, hie dura Laeonum 
saxa virent. hie flexus onyx et concolor alto 
vena mari rupesque nitent, quis purpura saepe 150 
Oebalis et Tyrii moderator livet aeni. 
pendent innumeris fastigia nixa columnis, 
robora Dalmatieo lucent satiata metallo. 
excludunt radios silvis demissa vetustis 
frigora, perspicui vivunt in marmore fontes. 155 

nee servat natura vices : hie Sirius alget, 
bruma tepet versumque domus sibi temperat annum. 

Exsultat visu tectisque potentis alumnae 
non secus alma Venus, quam si Paphon aequore ab 

" Other descriptions of marble will be found in Silvae, 
i. 5. 34, ii. 2. 85, iv. 2. 26. In each passage Libyan and 
Phrygian are mentioned, probably a kind of giaJlo 
antko and pavonazzetto respectively. Marble of Carystos 
also, if " concolor alto vena mari " and " glaucae 
certantia Doridi saxa " are to be so explained. This is 
perhaps cipollino verde ondato. The green Laconian 
(here, i. 5. 40 and ii. 2. 90) is verde antiro. " Flexus onj-x " 
is either " onyx alabastrites " or perhaps a kind of agate. 
11. 150-1 refer tn porphyry ; other marbles mentioned by 


SILVAE, I. II. 137-159 

favoiirest, my son, my chiefest power, shall have his 
will, though many a time she refuse with tears to 
bear the yoke of a second wedlock. She herself, I 
have noticed, is already yielding, and in her turn 
grows warm toward her lover." With these words 
she raised her starry limbs, and passing the proud 
threshold of her chamber called to the rein her 
Amyclaean doves. Love harnesses them, and seated 
on the jewelled car bears his mother rejoicing 
through the clouds. Soon appears the Ilian citadel 
of Tiber : a lofty mansion spreads wide its shining 
halls, and the swans exulting beat their wings on its 
bright portals. Worthy of the goddess was that 
abode, nor mean after the radiant stars. Here is 
marl)le of Libya and Phrygia, and the hard green 
Laconian rock ^ ; here the winding pattern of the 
onyx, and the vein that matches the deep sea's hue, 
and the brilliant stone that is envied by Oebalian '' 
purple and the mixer of the Tyrian cauldron. The 
ceilings rest poised on columns innumei-able ; the 
beams glitter in lavish decking of Dalmatian ore.'^ 
Coolness down-streaming from ancestral trees shuts 
out the rays of the sun, translucent fountains play 
in basins of marble ; nor does Nature keep her 
wonted order : here Siriiis is cool, midAvinter warm, 
and the house sways the altered seasons to its 

Kindly Venus rejoiced to see the house of her 
queenly fosterling, no less than if from the deep 
sea she were drawing nigh to Paphos or her Idalian 
Statius are those of Thasos, Chios, and Syene, and the 
stone called ophites (= serpentine). 

'' i.e.. Spartan, Laconian, cf. " purpuras Laconicas," Hor. 
C. ii. 18. 7. 

" i.e., gold, mined there since Augustus ; cf. iii. 3. 90. 



Idaliasque domos Eiycinaque templa subiret. 160 
tunc ipsam solo reclinem adfata cubili : 

" Quonam hie usque sopor vacuique modestia lecti, 
o mihi Laurentes inter dileeta puellas ? 
quis morum fideique modus ? numquamne virili 
summittere iugo ? veniet iam tristior aetas. 165 

exerce formam et fugientibus utere donis. 
non ideo tibi tale decus vultusque superbos 
meque dedi, viduos ut transmittare per annos 
ceu non cara mihi. satis o nimiumque priores 
despexisse procos. etenim hie tibi sanguine toto 
deditus unam omnes inter miratur amatque 171 

nee formae nee stirpis egens. nam docta per urbem 
carmina qui iuvenes, quae non didicere puellae ? 
hunc et bissenos — sic indulgentia pergat 
praesidis Ausonii — cernes attollere fasces 175 

ante diem ; certe iam nunc Cybeleia movit 
limina et Euboicae carmen legit ille Sibyllae. 
iamque parens Latins, cuius praenoscere mentem 
fas mihi, purpureos habitus iuvenique curule 
indulgebit ebur Dacasque — haec^ gloria maior — 
exu\ias laurosque dabit celebrare recentes. 181 

ergo age, iunge toros atque otia deme iuventae. 
quas ego non gentes, quae non face corda iugavi^ ? 
alituum pecudumque mihi durique ferarum 

^ haec Otto : et M. 

* iugavi Dom. : iugali M. Some edd. support Mss. here, 
and explain by ellipse. 

° From Laurentum on the coast of Latium ; here = 

'' i.e., the Emperor ; so " the Latian Father," 1. 178. 

* i.e., he has been made one of the XVviri, under whose 


SILVAE, I. 11. 160-184 

home or her shrine at Eryx. Then she addressed 
the maiden, as she reehned alone upon her couch : 
" How long this slothfulness, this modest, unshared 
bed, O well -beloved of me among Laurentian " 
gix'ls ? What limit wilt thou set to chastity and 
thy sworn vow ? Wilt thou never submit to a 
husband's yoke ? Soon sadder years will come. 
Employ thy beauty and use the gifts that are quick 
to fly. Not for that end did I give thee such charm 
and pride of countenance and my own spirit, to see 
thee pass year after year of loneliness, as though 
thou wert not dear to me. Enough, ay and too 
much to have despised thy former suitors. For 
truly this one with his whole manhood's reverent 
devotion loves thee alone among all others, nor 
lacks he beauty or noble birth ; and, for his poetry, 
what youths, what maidens all the city through have 
not his songs by heart ? Him also shalt thou see 
— so far may the Ausonian prince* prove gracious ! 
— raise high the twelvefold rods before the due age ; 
of a truth already has he opened Cybele's gates 
and read the Euboean Sibyl's song.*^ Soon will the 
Latian Father, whose purpose I may foreknow, 
bestow upon the youth the purple raiment and the 
curule ivory,'' and will permit him to celebrate (a 
greater glory this) the spoils of Dacia and the laurels 
newly won. Come, marry then and have done with 
youth's tarrying. What races, what hearts has my 
torch failed to subdue ? Birds, cattle, savage herds 

charg'e were all foreign worships as well as the Sibylline 

"* It is not certain to what curule office tliis refers, or in 
what capacity Stella " celebrated the Dacian victory," 
i.e., the games that accompanied Domitian's triumph at the 
end of 89. 



non renuere greges, ipsum in conubia terrae 185 

aethera, cum pluviis rarescunt nubila, solvo. 
sic rerum series mundique revertitur aetas. 
unde novum Troiae decus ardentumque deorum 
raptorem, Phrygio si non ego iuncta marito, 
Lydius unde meos iterasset Thybris lulos ? 190 

quis septemgeminae posuisset moenia Romae 
imperii Latiale caput, nisi Dardana furto 
cepisset Martem, nee me prohibente, sacerdos ? " 

His mulcet dictis tacitaeque^ inspirat honorem^ 
conubii. redeunt animo iam dona precesque 195 

et lacrimae vigilesque viri prope limina questus, 
Asteris et vatis totam cantata per urbem, 
Asteris ante dapes, nocte Asteris, Asteris ortu, 
quantum non clamatus Hylas. iamque aspera coepit 
flectere corda libens et iam sibi dura videri. 200 

Macte toris, Latios inter placidissime vates, 
quod durum permensus iter coeptique labores^ 
prendisti portus. nitidae^ sic transfuga Pisae 
amnis in externos longe flammatus amores 
flumina demerso trahit intemerata canali. 205 

donee Sicanios tandem prolatus anhelo 

1 tacitaeque VoUmer : tacitoque J/. 

^ honorem il : amorem 5". 

^ labores Macnaghtfn : laboris M. 

^ nitidae 5" : nitiade il/: viduaeP/n7//7«ore: tumidae Dow. 

" Cf. Lucretius, i. 1 sqq.^ Perviyillum Veneris, i. 7 sqq. 

* Pihea Silvia, or Ilia, mother of Romulus and Remus. 
" Dardana " : because descended from Aeneas. " sacerdos " : 
because she was a Vestal Virgin. 

" Stella= Gk. 'XaT-qp (Aster), therefore he calls his lady 

SILVAE, I. II. 185-206 

of beasts, none have said me nay : " the very air, 
when rain-showers empty the clouds, do I melt 
into union with the earth. Thus life succeeds to 
life, and the world's age is renewed. Whence 
could have come Troy's later glory and the rescuer 
of the burning gods, had I not been joined to a 
Phrygian spouse ? how could Lydian Tiber have 
renewed the stock of my own luli ? Who could 
have founded the walls of sevenfold Rome, the head 
of Latium's empire, had not a Dardan priestess ^ 
suffered the secret embrace of Mars, which I forbade 
not ? " 

By such winning words she inspires the silent girl 
with the pride of wedlock ; her suitor's gifts and 
prayers are remembered, his tears and wakeful 
pleading at her gates, and how the whole city sang 
of the poet's Asteris,*' before the banquet Asteris, 
Asteris at night, Asteris at dawn of day, as never 
Hylas' name resounded.'^ And now she begins gladly 
to bend her stubborn heart, and now to account 
herself unfeeling. 

Blessing on thy bridal couch, gentlest of Latian 
bards ! Thou hast endured thy hard voyage to the 
end and the labours of thy quest, and gained thy 
haven. So does the river ^ that fled sleek Pisa, aflame 
for an alien love afar, flow with unsullied streams 
through a channel beneath the sea, until at last 
arriving he drinks with panting mouth of the Sicanian 

■* An echo of Virg. G. ill. 6 "cui non dictus Hylas?" 
His story was a favourite one, e.(/. Theocr. Id. l.S, Prop. ii. 20. 

*■ Alpheus, which flowed through the territory of Pisa 
(called " sleek " from the oil of the wrestlers at the Olympian 
games), thence under the sea to Sicily. The Naiad is 



ore bibat fontes ; miratur dulcia Nais 
oscula nee eredit pelago venisse niaritum. 

Quis tibi tunc alacri caelestum in munere claro, 
Stella, dies, qiianto salierunt pectora voto, 210 

dulcia cum dominae dexter conubia vultus 
adnuit ! ire polo nitidosque errare per axes 
visus. Amyclaeis minus exsultavit harem's 
pastor ad Idaeas Helena veniente carinas ; 
Thessala nee talem viderunt Pelea Tempe, 215 

cum Thetin Haemoniis Chii-on accedere terris 
erecto prospexit equo. quam longa morantur 
sidera ! quam segnis votis Aurora mariti ! 

At procul ut Stellae thalamos sensere parari 
Letous vatum pater et Semeleius Euhan, 220 

hie movet Ortygia, movet hie rapida agmina Nysa. 
huic Lycii montes gelidaeque umbracula Thymbrae 
et Parnase, sonas^ ; illi Pangaea resultant 
Ismaraque et quondam genialis litora Naxi. 
tunc caras iniere fores comitique canoro 225 

hie chelyn, hie flavam maculoso nebrida tergo, 
hie thyrsos, hie plectra ferunt ; hie enthea lauro 
tempora, Minoa crinem premit ille corona. 

Vixdum emissa dies, et iam socialia praesto 
omina, iam festa fervet domus utraque pompa. 230 
fronde virent postes, effulgent compita flammis, 
et pars immensae gaudet celeberrima Romae. 

^ Parnase sonas Dorn. : Parnasis honos M : Parnasis 
hiems Schwartz. 

" It was there that he made Ariadne his bride. 

'' Clearly not the crown of Ariadne ; probably ivy, with 
which Bacchus is always connected ; there was a tradition 
that he wore it for sorrow after the death of Ariadne (Theon 
on Aratus, Phaen. 71). 

S1L\'AE, I. II, 207-232 

springs ; the Naiad marvels at the freshness of his 
kisses, nor can beheve her lover has come from the 
open main. 

What a day was that, O Stella, for thy eager spirit, 
when the gods showed thee signal bounty ! How thy 
hopes surged within thy heart, when thy lady's 
favouring look gave promise of the bliss of wedlock ! 
Thou didst seem to tread the sky and walk among the 
shining heavens. Less exultant was the shepherd 
on Amyclae's sand when Helen came to the ships of 
Ida ; less eager seemed Peleus to Thessalian Tempe, 
when Chiron high on his horse's body looked forth 
and beheld Thetis draw nigh to the Haemonian 
strand. How tardy are the lingering stars ! how 
slow is Aurora to a lover's prayer ! 

But when the son of Leto, sire of poets, and Euhan, 
Semele's son, perceived from afar that Stella's 
marriage-chamber was preparing, from Ortygia 
the one, from Nysa the other they set their swift 
companies in train. To Apollo the Lvcian hills and 
cool resorts of shadv Thymbra sound responsive, and 
thou, Parnassus ; Pangaea and Ismara re-echo 
Bacchus, and the shores of Naxos, once his bridal 
bower." Then did they enter the doors they loved, 
and brought to their tuneful friend their gifts of 
lyre and quill, of dappled yellow fawnskin and 
mystic wands : the one adorns the poet's brow with 
bay, the other sets a Minoan crown '' upon his hair. 

Scarce is the light of day sent forth, and already 
the omens of a happy union are at hand, already 
cither house is aglow with festal pomp. The door- 
posts are green with foliage, the cross-roads bright 
with flame, and the most populous part of im- 
measurable Rome rejoices. No office of State, no 

VOL. I D .'>.'? 


omnis honos, euncti veniunt ad limina fasces, 

omnis plebeio teritur praetexta tumultu : 234 

hinc eques. hinc iuvenuni coetu^ stola mixta laborat. 

felices utrosqiie vocant, sed in agmine plures 

invidere viro. iamduduin poste reclinis 

quaerit Hymen thalamis intactum dieei'e carmen, 

quo vatem mulcere queat. dat luno verenda 

vincula et insignit gemina^ Concordia taeda. 24u 

hie fuit ille dies : noctem canat ipse maritus I 

quantum nosse licet, sic victa sopore doloso 

Martia fluminea posuit latus Ilia ripa ; 

non talis niveos tinxit^ Lavinia vultus, 

cum Turno spectante rubet ; non Claudia talis 245 

respexit populos mota iam vii'go carina. 

Nunc opus, Aonidum comites tripodumque ministri. 
diversis certare modis : eat enthea vittis 
atque hederis redimita cohors, ut pollet ovanti 
quisque lyra. sed praecipui. qui nobile gressu 250 
extremo fraudatis opus, date carmina festis 
digna toris. hunc ipse Coo plaudente Pliiletas 
Callimachusque senex Umbroque Propertius antro 
ambissent laudare diem, nee tristis in ipsis 
Naso Tomis divesque foco lucente Tibullus. 255 

Me certe non unus amor simplexque canendi 

1 iuvenuni coetu Bernartius : iiiveniun questus hasta 
(hasta erased by M\): in iuvenumque aestu Postgate, hie 
iuvenuni vestis ElJls, of. PhiUimore, Pre/, to Silvae, p. xx, 

^ insignit gemina PhiUimore : insigni geniinat M. 

' tinxit Giiyef : strinxit M. 

" Claudia, when accused of incontinency, proved her 
maidenhood liy causing to move the vessel that had brought 
the image of the Great Mother to Rome (,?04 b.c.) ; the ship 
had stuck fast, and according to the soothsayers could only 
be moved bv a chaste woman (Livy, xxix. 14 ; Ov. Fast. 
iv. 343). 


S1L\'AE, I. II. 233-250 

train of lictors but seeks that threshold ; Senators' 
robes are jostled by crowds of common folk ; yonder 
are knights, and women's gowns that mix and 
struggle in a throng of youths. Each they call 
happy, but more among the multitude envy the 
bridegroom. Long since leaning against the portal 
hath Hymen sought to utter a new song in honour 
of their marriage, and to gladden the poet's heart. 
Juno brings the holy bonds, and Concord marks 
the union with twofold torch. Such was that day : 
of the night let the bridegroom sing ! This only 
may we know : 'twas thus that Iha, bride of Mars, 
o'ercome by deceitful slumber, laid her side on the 
river's bank ; less fair was Lavinia when she tinged 
her snow-white cheeks and blushed 'neath the eyes 
of Turnus ; not so did Claudia ** turn to meet the 
people's gaze, when the ship moved and her maiden- 
hood was sure. 

Now, comrades of the Aonian'' sisters and ministers 
of the tripods, now must we strive in manifold 
measures : send forth the inspired train, chapleted 
and ivy-crowned, each bard in the strength of his 
own exultant lyre. But above all, ye who spoil of its 
last pace '^ your noble rhyme, bring songs that are 
worthy of the marriage feast. Philetas himself 
with Cos to applaud him and old Callimachus and 
Propertius in his Umbrian grot would fain have 
praised this day, and Naso too right gladly e'en in 
Tomi, and Tibullus by the glowing hearth that was 
his wealth. 

For my part, verily, 'tis no one love, no single 

* Boeotian, i.e. Muses, liy "comrades " and " ministers " 
he means poets. 

" Cf. note on i. 2. 9. 



causa traliit : tecum similes iunctaeque Camenae, 

Stella, mihi, multumque pares bacchamur ad aras 

et sociam doctis haurimus ab amnibus undam ; 

at te nascentem gremio mea prima recepit 260 

Parthenope, dulcisque solo tu gloria nostro 

reptasti. nitidura consurgat ad aethera tellus 

Eubois et pulchra tumeat Sebethos alumna ; 

nee sibi sulpureis Lucrinae Naides antris 

nee Pompeiani placeant magis otia Sarni. 265 

Heia age, praeclaros Latio properate nepotes, 
qui leges, qui castra regant,'^ qui carmina ludant. 
acceleret partu decimum bona Cynthia mensem, 
sed parcat Lucina precor ; tuque ipse parenti 
parce, puer, ne mollem uterum, ne stantia laedas 270 
pectora ; cumque tuos tacito natura recessu 
formarit vultus, multum de patre decoris, 
plus de matre feras. at tu, pulcherrima forma 
Italidum, tandem merito possessa marito, 
vincla diu quaesita fove : sic damna decoris 275 

nulla tibi ; longae^ viridis sic flore iuventae 
perdurent vultus, tardeque haec forma senescat. 

1 regant Pul. : legant M. 
^ longae S" : longe M. See Slater^s note, ad loc. 

" i.e., Naples. 

'' i.e., Cumae, originally a colony of Chalcis in Euboea. 
Sebethos was the name of a small stream flowing past 


SILVAR, I. IT. 257-277 

impulse that makes me sing : tliou, Stella, hast a 
Muse like to and closely joined with mine, at similar 
altars do we feel the poet's rage, and together draw 
water from the springs of song. Thee, lady, at thv 
birth my own Parthenope " first fostered in her bosom, 
and in thy infancy thou wert the glory and delight 
of my native soil. Let the Euboean ^ land be exalted 
to the starry pole, and Sebethos swell with pride of 
his fair nursling ; nor let the Lucrine Naiads boast 
more of their sulphur caves, nor Pompeian Sarnus '^ 
in his SMeet repose. 

Come now, hasten ye to bestow on Latium noble 
sons who will make her laws and rule her armies, 
and practise poesy. May merciful Cynthia hasten 
the tenth month for the bringing-forth, but spare 
her, I.ucina, I pray thee ; and thou, O babe, spare 
thy mother, hurt not her tender womb and swelling 
breasts ; and when Nature in secrecy has marked thy 
features, much beauty mayst thou draw from thy 
father, but more from thy mother. And thou, 
loveliest of Italian maids, won at last by a husband 
worthy of thee, cherish the bonds he sought so long ; 
so may thy beauty suffer no loss, and the fresh prime 
of youth abide for many a year upon thy brow, and 
that comeliness be slow to age. 

•^ A river flowing into the bay of Naples, to-daj- about 
two miles from Pompeii, but formerly past its walls. 


ST ATI us 


Cernere facundi 'libur glaciale \'upisci 
si quis et inserto geminos Aniene penates 
aut potuit sociae commercia noscere ripae 
certantescpie sibi doniinuni defendere villa<:, 
ilium nee ealido latravit Sirius astro, 5 

nee gravis aspexit Nemeae frondentis alumnus : 
talis hiems tectis, frangunt sie improba solem 
frigora, Pisaeumque domus non aestuat annum. 

Ipsa manu tenera tecum seripsisse \'oluptas'^ 

tune Venus Idaliis unxit fastigia sucis 10 

permulsitque comis blandumque reliquit honorem 
sedibus, et volueres vetuit diseedere natos. 

O longum memoranda dies ! quae inente reporto 
gaudia, quam lassos per tot miracula visus ! 
ingenium quam mite solo ! quae forma beatis l;! 
ante"^ manus artemque locis ! non largius usquam 
indulsit Xatura sibi. nemora alta citatis 
incubuere vadis : fallax responsat imago 
frondibus, et longas eadem fugit umbra per undas. 
ipse Anien — miranda fides — infraque superque 20 

^ yo lacuna In mss. after this line. It was first recognized 
by Schwartz, though the text was dovhted by J)om. : Phiili- 
more conj. telam /oi" tecum (iii. 1. 117). 

^ ante Bursian : arte M. 

" i.e., the constellation Leo, the sign of the zodiac in which 
the sun is in July. 

*" i.e., such heat as at the Olympian js^ames, held at mid- 

SILVAE, I. in. 1-2U 


Matiilii's I'opixcux is mentioned in the Preface to t/iin hook ; 
III' u\is a man of literary tastes, and an Epicurean (1. 94). 
The villa was prohahly above TUntr ; Volpi found remains 
that he said tallied irifh Sfativs's description (" Vetiis Latium 
]irofanum," x. p. 3;50, ITOl), bid no trace of if has endured 
to modern times. 

If anyone lias been privileged to behold eloquent 
\'opiscus' cool retreat at Tibur and the double dwell- 
ing threaded by Anio's stream, or to see the friendly 
intercourse of bank with bank, and each villa striving 
to keep their master to itself, on him the hot star of 
Sirius has not barked, nor leafy Nemea's offspring " 
looked with fierce aspect ; such icy coolness is in the 
house, so pitilessly does the cold break the sun's 
power, nor does the dwelling swelter in Pisa's summer 

Pleasure herself with her own delicate hand <is 
said> to have traced with thee . . . Then Venus 
poured Idalian perfumes upon the roof-tops and 
caressed them with her hair, and left a winsome 
charm upon the house and bade her winged sons 
abide there for ever. 

O ever memorable day ! What raptures of the 
mind, what cloying of the sight by countless marvels 
do I recall ! How kindly the temper of the soil ! 
How beautiful beyond human art the enchanted 
scene ! Nowhere has Nature more lavishly spent her 
skill. Lofty woods lean over rushing waters ; a false 
image counterfeits the foliage, and the reflection 
dances unbroken over the long waves. Anio himself 
— marvellous to believe — though full of boulders 



saxeus^ hie tuniidani rabieni spumosaque ponit 
murmura, ceu placidi veritus turbare Vopisci 
Pieriosque dies et habentes carmina somnos. 
litus utrumque domi, nee te mitissimus amnis 
dividit. alternas servant praetoria ripas, 25 

non externa sibi fluviumve obstare^ queruntur. 
Sestiacos nunc Fania sinus pelagusque natatum 
iactet et audaci victos delphinas ephebo ! 
hie aeterna quies, nullis hie iura proeellis, 29 

numquam fervor aquis. datur hie transmittere visus 
et voces et paene nianus. sic Chalcida fluetus 
expellunt reflui, sic dissociata profundo 
Bruttia Sicanium circumspicit ora Pelorum. 

Quid prinium niediunive canam, quo fine quiescam? 
auratasne trabes an Maux'os undique postes 35 

an picturata lucentia marmora vena 
niirer, an eniissas per cuncta cubiha nymphas ? 
hue ocuhs, hue mente trahor. venerabile dicam 
lucoruni senium ? te, quae vada fluminis infra 
cernis, an ad silvas quae respicis, aula, tacentis, 40 
qua tibi tota quies ofFensaque turbine nullo 
nox silet et teneros invitant^ murmura somnos ? 
an quae graminea suscepta crepidine fumant 
balnea et impositum ripis algentibus ignem ? 
duaque vaporiferis iunctus fornacibus amnis 45 

ridet anhelantes vicino flumine nymphas ? 

Vidi artes veterumque manus variisque metalla 

^ saxeus . . . spumosa 3/ : Slater conj. spumeus . . . 

^ fluviumve obstare Pol. : fluviorum optare M. 

' teneros invitant Lemaire: nigros imitantia {or poss. 
mutantia) M : pigros Peyraredus : mutantia Postgate. 

" i.e., Leander. The point is that these shores are kinder 

SILVAF-, I. HI. 21-47 

below and above, liere silences his swollen rage and 
foamy din, as if afraid to disturb the Pierian days 
and niusic-liauntcd slumbers of tranquil \opiscus. 
On either shore is home, and that most gentle river 
parts thee not in twain. Stately buildings guard 
either bank, and complain not that they are strange 
to each other, or that the stream bars approach. 
Now let P'ame boast of the Sestian gulf, and the 
bold youth who swam the sea and outstripped the 
dolphins ! " Here is eternal quiet, storms have here 
no power, waters ne'er grow angry. Here can one 
see and talk, ay all but join hands across the stream. 
Thus do the ebbing waves repel Chalcis, thus the 
curve of Bruttian shore that the deep has sundered 
regards Sicanian Pelorus. 

What shall be my first, what my middle theme, 
whereon shall I conclude ? Shall I marvel at the 
gilded beams, the Moorish lintels ^ on every side, 
patterned veins of glittering marbles, the water- 
nymphs that hie them through every bed-chamber ? 
This way my eyes, that way my mind would snatch 
me. Shall I tell of the forest's venerable age ? Of 
the courtyard which sees the river's lower reaches, 
or of that other which looks back towards the mute 
woodland, where it hath quiet unbroken and the 
silence of night unmarred by any storm, and mur- 
muring sounds that invite to gentle slumber ? Or of 
the smoking baths upraised on the grassy bank and 
the fire kindled upon the icy flood } Or where the 
river, chained to the vaporous fui-nace, laughs at the 
njmiphs that gasp in its stream hard by ? 

Works of art I saw and masterpieces of the ancients 

than those of the Hellespont, which parted Leander from 
his love. * These were of citrus-wood from Mauretania. 


ST ATI us 

viva modis. labor est auri meniorare figiiras 
aut ebur aut dignas digitis contingere gemmas, 
quicquid et argento primum, vel in aere minori 50 
lusit et enormes manus est experta colossos. 
cum vagoi* aspectu visusque per omnia duco, 
calcabam neeopinus opes, nam splendor ab alto 
defluus et nitidum referentes aera testae 
monstravere solum, varias ubi picta per artes 55 

gaudet humus superatque novis asarota figuris : 
expavere gradus. 

Quid nunc iungentia^ mirer 
aut quid partitis distantia tecta trichoris ? 
quid te, quae mediis servata penatibus arbor 
tecta per et postes liquidas emergis in auras, 60 

quo non sub domino saevas passura bipennes ? 
et nunc ignai-o forsan vel lubrica Nais 
vel non abruptos tibi debet^ Hamadryas annos. 

Quid referam alternas gemino super aggere mensas 
albentesque lacus altosque in gurgite fontes fi5 

teque, per obliquum penitus quae laberis amnem, 
Marcia, et audaci transcurris flumina pluml)o ? 
an solum loniis sub fluctibus Elidis amnem 
dulcis ad Aetnaeos deducat semita portus ? 
illic ipse antris Anien et^ fonte relicto 70 

^ iungentia Dorn. : ingencia M. 

* debet Heinsius : demet M. 

' illic Krohn, Anien et Pol. : illis ipse antris anienem M. 

" A famous mosaic floor by one Sosus in Pergamum, so- 
called because it represented the scraps and leavings of a 
banquet (see Plin. X.II. xxxvi. 184). 

* The term in Greek means a building of three stories ; 
here and in Spartianus {Penc. ^'if/. xii. 4) it seems to mean 
the upper story or stories of a house. The word is used 


SILVAE, I. III. 48-70 

and metals tliat lived in niainfold forms. A labour 
is it to tell of the shapes of gold, the ivories and the 
gems worthy to adorn a finger, and of all that the 
artist's hand first playfully wrought in silver or 
smaller bi'onze, and made trial of huge colossal 
forms. While 1 wandered gazing and cast my eyes 
on all, I was treading on riches unaware. For the 
radiance down-streaming from on high and the tiles 
that reflected the brilliant light displayed to me the 
floor, where the ground rejoices in manifold skill of 
painting, and with strange shapes surpasses the 
Unswept Pavement « : awe held my steps. 

Why should I now marvel at the central buildings, 
or at the outer Avings each with its upper story '' ? 
why at thee, preserved in the very heart of the 
house, thou tree that risest up through roof and roof- 
beam to the pure air above, and under any other 
lord wouldest endure the cruel axe ? Even now, 
though thou '^ knowest it not, some lissome Naiad or 
Hamadryad perchance doth owe to thee the life 
that no stroke has severed. 

Why should I tell of feasts held now on this bank, 
now on that, of white-gleaming pools and springs 
deep-hidden 'neath the flood, or of thee, O Marcia,'' 
that glidest athwart the river's depths and in l)old 
lead dost cross its channels ? Shall only the river of 
Elis come safe by an unsalt path to Aetna's haven 
beneath Ionian waves ? '^ There Anio himself, leaving 

nowhere else in classical Latin : in Paulinus of Nola in the 
(Ireek sense. " trichora altaria " {Ep. xxxii. 10). 

'^ i.e., Vopiscus : the change of person addressed is 
awkward, unless we understand Statius's habit of apostro- 
phizing, ef. i. 4. 3, 38, 106. 

■^ One of the aqueducts that supplied Rome with water. 

' See note on i. 2. 904. 


ST ATI us 

nocte sub arcana^ glaucos exutus amictus 
hue illuc fragili prosternit pectora musco, 
aut ingens in stagna cadit vitreasque natatu 
plaudit aqua'., ilia recubat Tiburnus in umbra, 
illic sulpureos cupit Albula mergere crines ; 75 

haec donius Egeriae nenioraleni abiungere Phoeben 
et Drvadum viduare choris algentia possit 
Taygeta et silvis accersere Pana Lycaeis. 
quod ni templa darent alias Tirynthia sortes, 
et Praenestinae poterant niigrare sorores. 80 

quid bifera Alcinoi laudem pomaria vosque, 
qui numquam vacui prodistis in aethera, rami ? 
cedant Telegoni, eedant Laurentia Turni 
iugera Lucrinaeque domus litusque cruenti 
Antiphatae, cedant vitreae iuga perfida Circes 8") 
Dulichiis ululata lupis arcesque superbae 
Anxuris et sedes, Phrygio quas mitis alumno 
debet anus : cedant, quae te iam solibus artis 
Antia- nimbosa revocabunt litora bruma 

Scilicet hie illi meditantur pondera mores, 90 

hie premitur fecunda quies virtusque serena 
fronte gravis sanusque nitor luxuque carentes 
deliciae, quas ipse suis digressus Athenis 
mallet deserto senior Gargettius horto ; 

^ nocte sub arcana S' : nocte sub arcane m, artano 31, 
noctis ubi arcano P/iillimore. 

^ Antia MarkJancl : avia M: obvia Postgate. 

" Tiburnus, usually Tiburtus, was the founder of Tibur ; 
Albula, a sulphurous lake from which a stream flowed into 
the Anio at Tibur. 

* A nymph of Aricia, and servant of Phoebe, who had a 
shrine there. 

"^ The temple of Fortime at Praeneste was famous for 
telling the future by the casting of lots ; the reference to Sisters 
is not clear, but ^lartial refers to the " veridicae sorores " 


SIL\'AK, I. III. 71-94 

his grotto and his spring, in niglit's mysterious liour 
puts off his grey-green raiment and leans his breast 
against the soft moss hereabouts, or plunges in all 
his bulk into the pools and swimming splashes among 
the glassy waters. In that shade Tiburnus reclines, 
there Albula would fain dip her sulphurous tresses ; ** 
this bower could steal woodland Phoebe from Egeria* 
and empty cold Taygetus of Dryad choirs, and 
summon Pan from the Lycean glades. Ay, did not 
the Tirynthian shrine as well give oracles, even the 
Sisters of Praeneste might change their abode .'-' 
Why should I belaud the twice-bearing apple- 
orchards of Alcinous and the boughs that never 
stretched unladen to the air ? <^ Let the domain of 
Telegonus give place and Turnus' Laurentian fields, 
and the Lucrine dwellings and the shore of cruel 
Antiphates ; let the perfidious height of glassy Circe 
yield, where the Dulichian wolves once howled, and 
Anxur's haughty towers and the home that the kind 
old nurse owes to her Phrygian foster-child; let the 
shores of Antium give place, which when the suns are 
narrowed in their path and winter's storms are come 
will call thee to them.'' 

Ay, here that serious mind broods on weighty 
themes ; here silence shrouds a fruitful quiet and 
grave virtue tranquil-browed, sane elegance and 
comfort that is not luxury, such as the Gargettian 
sage ^ had liimself preferred and left his own 
Athens and his garden behind him ; these were 

of Antium in tlie same way (v. 1. .S). "TirynHiia templa " 
is a temple of Hercules. '' Cf. Horn. Od. vii. 117. 

" The places are Tusfulum, Ardea, Baiae, Formiae, Circeii 
(Dulichian, because they were Odysseus' men), y\nxur, C'aieta 
(nurse of Aeneas), Antium. f Epicurus. 


ST ATI us 

haec per et Aegaeas liiemes Hyaduinque nivosum 95 

sidus et Oleniis dignum petiisse sub astris, 

si Maleae credenda ratis Siculosque per aestus 

sit via : cur oculis sordet vicina voluptas ? 

hie tua Tiburtes Faunos chelys et iuvat ipsum 

Alciden dictumque lyra maiore Catillum, 100 

seu tibi Pindaricis animus contendere plectris 

sive chelyn tollas heroa ad robora sive 

liventem satiram nigra rubigine turbes^ 

seu tua non alia splendescat epistola cura. 

Digne Midae Croesique bonis et Perside gaza, lOo 
macte bonis animi, cuius stagnantia rura 
debuit et flavis Hermus transcurrere ripis 
et limo splendente Tagus ! sic docta frequentes 
otia, sic omni detectus pectora nube 
finem Nestoreae precor egrediare senectae. 110 



Estis, io, superi, nee inexorabile Clotho 
volvit opus, videt alma pios Astraea lovique 

^ turbes M : vibres Scriver'ms. 

" The star known as Capella, the rising of which heralded 
storms ; Aege, daughter of Olenus, was changed into a goat. 

* Scylla and Charybdis. 

'^ Either Virgil {Aen. vii. 670) or Horace (C i. 18). Catillus 
was one of the founders of Tibur. 

■* Often identified with Justice. 


SILVAE, I. III. 95— IV. 2 

worth seeing despite Aegean storms and the Hyades* 
snowy constellation and the Olenian star,*^ even 
though the Ijark must be thrown on Malea's mercy 
and the way lie through Sicilian surges ^ : why do 
men look slightingly on pleasure near at hand .'' Here 
thy lyre delights the Fauns of Tibur and Aleides 
himself and Catillus, sung of by a mightier harp,'^ 
wliether thou hast a mind to strive with the Pindaric 
quill or dost lift thy lyre to the height of heroic 
deeds or stirrest up the black venom of thy bitter 
satire, or whether thy letters glow and sparkle, 
composed with no less skill. 

O worthy of the wealth of Midas and of Croesus 
and of Persian treasure, all blessing on thy wealth 
of soul, thou o'er whose watered fields Hermus 
should have flowed with yellow channel and Tagus 
with liis shining sand ! So mayst thou full oft enjoy 
thy learned leisure, I pray, so with heart unclouded 
mayst thou outpass the limits of old Nestor's age ! 


" iSoteria " means a thanksgiving for recovery from sick- 
ness {as here), or for rescue from any serious danger. Here 
Stat ins congratulates Rutilius (Jallicus, a man of nohJe rank 
and military distinction, who after seeing service in Asia 
Minor and Pannonia had become successively Praetor, Gov- 
ernor of the province of Asia, Consul, Imperial Commissioner 
in Africa, and finally Prefect of the City ; between tlie last 
tint offices lie had fought on the lUiine. The recorery is 
effected by dirine agency, Apollo and Aesculapius visiting 
the patient and tending him t/ienist-l res. 

Hurrah ! ye exist then, ye gods, nor is Clotho's 
spinning inexorable ; kindly Astraea '^ hath regard 


ST ATI us 

conciliata redit dubitataque sidera cernit 
Gallicus. es caelo. dive, es,^ Germanice, cordi 
— quis neget r^: erubuit tanto spoliare ministro 5 
imperium Fortuna tuum. stat proxima cervix 
ponderis immensi damnosaque fila senectae 
exuit atque alios melior revirescit in annos. 
ergo alacres, quae signa colunt urbana. cohoi'tes 
inque sinum quae saepe tuum fora turbida questum 10 
confugiunt, leges urbesque ubicumque togatae, 
quae tua longinquis implorant iura querelis, 
certent laetitia, nosterque ex ordine collis 
confremat et sileant peioris murniura faniae I 
quippe manet longunique aevo i-edeunte nianebit, lo 
quern penes intrepidae mitis custodia Romae. 
nee tantuni induerint fatis nova saecula crimen 
aut instaurati peccaverit ara Tarenti. 

Ast ego nee Phoebum, quamquam milii surda 
sine illo 
plectra, nee Aonias decima cum Pallade divas 20 

aut mitem Tegeae Dircesve hortabor alumnum : 
ipse veni \iresque novas animumque ministra, 
qui^ caneris ; docto nee enim sine numine tantus 
Ausoniae decora ampla togae centumque dedisti 
iudicium mentemque viris. licet enthea vatis 25 

^ es 5~: et M : dive es Pol.: dives -1/: dis es I)om.: 
Diti es Postgate. 

^ qui Pol. (from P): quis M. 

" One of the titles of the Emperor Domitian. 

* The four urban cohorts, directly under the Praefectus 
urbi ; the Prefect's court was the supreme court of criminal 
jurisdiction, and appeals from Italian towns came to him. 

•^ Sometimes explained as Helicon, cf. "nostras" 1. 30; 
sometimes as Rome. Slater suggests Alba. 

•^ Tarentum was the name given to a depression in the 
Campus Mnrtins near the Tiber, where there was nn altar. 


SILVAE, I. IV. 3-25 

for pious folk, and comes back reconciled with Jove, 
and Gallicus beholds the stars he doubted e'er to see 
again. Beloved of heaven art thou, divine Gernian- 
icus,'' who can deny it ? Fortune was ashamed to rob 
thy empire of so great a minister. Those shoulders 
with tlieir immense burden rise once more next to 
thine, and have cast off the ruinous doom of eld and 
revive more vigorous yet for many a year. There- 
fore let the brisk cohorts ^ that venerate the City's 
eagles, and the laws that ofttimes take refuge in thy 
bosom, complaining of the courts' confusion, and the 
cities of the toga wheresoe'er they be, that with 
far-travelling pleas implore thy justice — let them vie 
in their rejoicing, and let our own hill'' duly join its 
shouts to theirs, and the mutterings of ill report be 
silent. For he abides, and long will abide in his new 
span of life, in whose merciful hand is placed the 
guardianship of fearless Rome. No such grave re- 
proach will the new age lay upon the fates, nor will 
the altar of Tarentum,'' late restored, so deeply sin. 
But I will call neither on Phoebus, although my 
quill is mute without him, nor on the Aonian god- 
desses with Pallas the tenth Muse, nor on the gentle 
sons of Tegea and of Dirce '^ : come thou thyself 
and bring new strength and spirit, thou that art 
my theme ; for not without genius heaven-sent wert 
thou so mighty to shed great glory upon the Ausonian 
gown and to give judgement and understanding to 
the Hundred./ Thougli god-possessed Pimplea shut 

* Mercury and Bacclius. 

^ The Centumviral court, prominent under the Empire, 
was a court of civil jurisdiction ; its numbers, originally 
105 (3 from each tribe) had been raised to 180. Cf. Sllv. 
iv. 4. 43. 

VOL. I E 49 

ST ATI us 

excludat Pimplea sitim nee conscia detur 
Pirene : largos potius mihi gurges in haustus, 
qui rapitur de fonte tuo, seu plana solutis 
quoni struis orsa niodis seu quom tibi dulcis in artem 
frangitur et nostras curat facundia leges. 30 

quare age, si Cereri sua dona merumque Lyaeo 
reddimus et dives praedae tamen aecipit omni 
exu\ias Diana tholo eaptivaque tela 
Bellipotens : nee tu, quando tibi, Gallice, mains 
eloquium. fandique opibus sublimis abundas, 3") 

sperne coli tenuiore lyra. vaga cingitur astris 
luna, et in oceanum rivi cecidere minores. 

Quae tibi sollicitus persolvit praemia morum 
Urbis amor ! quae turn patrumque equitumque 

lumina et ignarae plebis lugere potentes ? 40 

non labente Numa timuit sic Curia felix 
Pompeio nee eelsus eques nee femina Bruto. 
hoe illud : tristes in\itum audire cateiias, 
parcere verberibus nee qua iubet alta potestas 
ire, sed armatas multum sibi demere vires 45 

dignarique manus humiles et verba preeantum, 
reddere iura foro nee proturbare eurules 
et ferrum mulcere toga, sic itur in alta 
peetora, sic mixto reverentia fidit amori. 
ipsa etiam eunetos gravis inclementia fati 50 

terruit et subiti praeceps iuvenile pericli, 
nil cunetante malo. non illud culpa seneetae 
— quippe ea bissenis vixdum orsa excedere lustris — , 

" Pimplea and Pirene were fountains of the Muses. 

'' J.I?., of us poets. 

" He was mourned by the Pi,oman matrons for a whole 
year, Livy, ii. 7, 

SILVAE, I. IV. 26-53 

out the thirsty bard and conspiring Pirene " be not 
granted me, yet dearer are the lavish draughts 
snatclied from the flood of thy own fountain, whether 
thou dost create free and flowing prose or whether 
thy sweet eloquence is broken in to rules of art and 
obeys our laws.** Wherefore come — if we make 
return to Ceres of her gifts and to Lyaeus of his 
wine, and if Diana though rich in booty yet receives 
spoils in every temple and the Lord of War our 
trophies of the fight — and spurn not, Gallicus, since 
tliou hast a mightier utterance and aboundest in 
wealth of speech sublime, spurn not the worship of a 
humbler Ivre. The wandering moon is ringed Avith 
stars, and lesser streams run down into the Ocean. 

What rich reward for thy virtues did the City's 
loving anxiety give thee ! What famous Senators 
and knights, what champions of the obscure multi- 
tude saw I then in tears ! The prosperous Curia 
feared not so when Numa was failing, nor the noble 
Knights at Pompey's danger nor the women at 
Brutus' death/ And this is the cause thereof : thou 
wert loth to hear the sullen chains, didst spare the 
scourge nor go as lofty otfice bade thee, but didst 
renounce much of thy armed force, and deign to 
regard the petitions of the lowly and their humble 
prayers ; thou broughtest back justice to the Forum 
nor didst vex the curule magistrates, but temperedst 
force by law. So is a way won to the deep places of 
the heart, so doth reverence trust the love Avhere- 
with it mingles. Terrible too to all was the dire 
severity of Fate and the impetuous violence of tlie 
sudden peril, as the mischief tarried not. 'Twas not 
the fault of thy age — scarce had that begun to with- 
draw from its twelfth lustre — but of straining toil 



sed labor intendens animique in membra vigentis 
imperium vigilesque suo pro Caesare cm'ae, 55 

dulce opus, hinc fessos penitus subrepsit in artus 
insidiosa quies et pigra oblivio vitae. 

Tunc deus, Alpini qui iuxta culmina dorsi 
signat Apollineos sancto cognomine lucos, 
respicit heu tanti pridem^ securus alumni. 60 

praecidensque^ moras : " nunc mecum, Epidauria 

hinc " ait " i^ gaudens : datur — aggredienda 

facultas ! — 
ingentem recreare virum. teneamus adorti 
tendentes* iam fila colos : ne fulminis atri 
sit metus : has ultro laudabit luppiter artes. 65 

nam neque plebeiam aut dextro sine numine cretam 
servo animam. atque adeo breviter, dum tecta 

expediam. genus ipse suis permissaque retro 
nobilitas ; nee origo latet, sed luce sequente 
vincitur et magno gaudet cessisse nepoti. 70 

prima togae virtus illi quoque : clarus et ingens 
eloquio ; mox innumeris exercita castris 
occiduas primasque domos et sole sub omni 
permeruit iurata manus nee in otia pacis 
pei-missum laxare animos ferrumque recingi. 75 

hunc Galatea vigens ausa est incessere bello 
— me quoque — perque novem timuit Pamphylia 

Pannoniusque ferox arcuque horrenda fugaci 

1 prideni Dom. : precidem M. 
- praecidens Ifou.tman : progressus M : praegressus S". 
* ait, i Biirsian : alti M. 
* tendentes Markland : tendatis M. 
" Probably Turin, the birthplace of Gallicus, is meant. 
Evidence for any cult of Apollo there is exceedingly weak. 

SILVAE, I. IV. 54-78 

and a strong mind's mastery o'er the body and 
unsleeping diligence in thy Emperor's cause, a labour 
of love to thee. Hence came creeping deep into the 
weary limbs a treacherous quiet and dull forgetful- 
ness of life. 

Then the god who luird by the peaks of the Alpine 
ridge " sets his sacred name of Apollo ujion the 
groves, turns to behold, long alas ! neglectful of so 
precious a ward. Then cutting short delay : " Come 
with me on the instant, Epidaurian son," he cries, 
" away, and gladly too ! 'Tis in our power — the 
chance must be seized ! — to restore to health a 
mighty hero. Let us advance and grasp the thread 
that e'en now the distaff stretches.'' Fear no dread 
thunderbolt : '^ Jupiter will be the first to praise this 
skill of ours. For 'tis no plebeian life I save nor one 
unblest in its begetting. Briefly while we draw nigh 
his house will I unfold his story. Himself he gives 
pedigree to his line, and reflects thereon his own 
nobility ; yet his origin is not obscure, but surpassed 
by the glory that follows it, and gladly gives place 
to its famous progeny. He too first excelled in the 
arts of peace : in eloquence brilliant and powerful ; 
then loyal to his oath he served in East and West 
and under every sun, bearing the brunt of countless 
camps, nor was he suffered to relax his ardour in 
peaceful ease nor to ungirdhis swoi'd. Him did Galatia 
dare to provoke to war in lusty pride — ay, and me 
also '^ — and for the space of nine harvests Pamphylia 
feared him, and the bold Pannonian and Armenia's 

*" i.e., because it is running out. 

" Jupiter fiad slain Aesculapius for restoring tiie dead to 

"^ Attack on Delphi by the Gauls, 279 b.c. 



Armenia et patiens Latii iain pontis Araxes. 
quid gcminos fasces magnaeque iterata revolvam 80 
iura Asiae ? veiit ilia quidem ter habere quaterque 
hunc sibi, sed i-evocant fasti maiorque curulis 
nee promissa seniel. Libvci quid niira tributi 
obsequia et niissuni media de pace triumphum 
laudem et opes quantas nee qui mandaverat ausus 85 
exspectare fuit r gaudet Trasimennus et Alpes^ 
Cannensesque animae ; primusque insigne tributum 
ipse palam lacera^ poscebat Regulus umbra, 
non vacat Arctoas acies Rhenumque rebellem 
eaptivaeque preces \'eledae et, quae maxima nuper 90 
gloria, depositam Dacis pereuntibus Urbem 
pandere, cum tanti lectus rectoris habenas, 
Gallice, Fortuna non admirante subisti. 

Hunc igitur, si digna loquor, rapiemus iniquo, 
nate, loui. rogat hoc Latiae pater inclitus ui'bis 95 
et meruit ; neque enim frustra mihi nuper honora 
carmina patricio pueri sonuistis in ostro. 
si qua salutifero gemini Chironis in antro 
herba, tholo quodcumque tibi Troiana recondit 
Pergamus aut medicis felix Epidaurus harenis loo 
educat, Idaea profert quam Creta sub umbra 
dictamni florentis opem, quoque anguis abundat 

^ After this line M has attollam cantii gaiidet Thrasj'- 
mennus et Alpes, obviously an interpolation, though various 
edd. try to fit it into the text. See Introd. 

* lacera Pol. : laeta M. Pol.'s reading was taken by 
him from P. 

" Some explain as "the praetorship," cf. Mommsen 
{Staatsrecht, i. 384 n.), who quotes Cic. De leg. agr. ii. 34. 
93. and Plautus, Epid. i. 1. 25. to prove that the praetor 
in Rome only had two lictors (cf, bissenos fasces, of the 
consulship, Silv. i. 2. 174). 

* /.f., the consulship, which would be registered in the Fasti. 

SILVAE, I. IV. 79-102 

dire retreating bowmen and Araxes that now brooks 
a Roman bridge. Why should I tell of the double 
command " and the twice repeated governorship of 
Asia ? who thrice and four times would fain liave 
him for herself, but our Annals and the higher 
ciu'ule chair, ** oft promised, call him back. Why 
extol the tribute and wondrous obedience of Libya,'' 
and the spoils of triumph sent to Rome from the 
midst of peace, and such wealth as not even he who 
gave the charge had dared to expect ? Trasimene 
and the Alps exult and the ghosts of Cannae ; and 
the mangled shade of Regulus first appears and 
claims its glorious reward. Time allows not to re- 
count the armies of the North and rebellious Rhine 
and the prayers of captive ^Vleda,'^' and, latest and 
greatest glory, Rome given thee in charge, when the 
Dacians were falling before us and thou wert chosen, 
Gallicus, to take up the reins of so great a chief, and 
Fortune marvelled not. 

" Him then, if my words find favour, we will rescue, 
my son, from Pluto's cruelty. This is the prayer of 
the illustrious Father of the Latian City,* and lie 
has deserved it ; for not in vain of late did ye sing 
my praise, ye boys, clad in patrician purple. If 
there be any herb in twy-formed Chiron's health- 
giving cave, all that Trojan Pergamus stores for thee 
in thy shrine or blest Epidaurus nurtures in her 
healing sands, all the aid of flowering dittany that 
Crete brings forth in the glens of Ida, the abundant 

' Vespasian had renewed and increased the tribute paid 
by Africa and other provinces ; Gallicus was perhaps sent 
there as Special Commissioner for this purpose. 

•* A German prophetess, for whom see Tac. Hist. iv. 61, 
V. 22. 

' i.e., the Emperor. 


spumatu : iungam ipse manus atque omne benignum^ 

virus, odoriferis Arabum quod doctus in arvis 

aut Amphrysiaco pastor de gramine cai'psi.^ " 105 

Dixerat. inveniunt positos iam segniter artus 
pugnantemque animam ; ritu se cingit uterque 
Paeonio monstrantque simul parentque volentes, 
donee letiferas vario niedicaniine pestes 
et suspecta mali ruperunt nubila somni. 110 

adiuvat ipse deos morboque valentior omni 
occupat auxilium. citius non arte refectus 
Telephus Haemonia, nee quae metuentis Atridae 
saeva Machaonio coierunt vulnera suco. 

Quis mihi tot coetus inter populique patrumque 115 
sit curae votique locus ? tamen ardua testor 
sidera teque, pater vatum Thymbraee, quis omni 
luce mihi, quis nocte timor, dum postibus haerens 
assiduus nunc aure vigil nunc lumine cuncta 
aucupor^ ; immensae veluti conexa carinae 120 

cumba minor, cum saevit hiems, pro parte furentis 
parva receptat aquas et eodem volvitur austro. 

Nectite nunc laetae candentia fila, sorores, 
nectite ! nemo modum transmissi computet aevi : 
hie vitae natalis erit. tu Troica dignus 125 

saecula et Euboici transcendere pulveris annos 
Nestoreosque situs ! qua nunc tibi pauper acerra 
digna litem ? nee si vacuet Mevania valles 
aut praestent niveos Clitumna novalia tauros, 

^ benignum Lindenhrog : benigne M. 

^ carpsi Dom. : carpsit M. 

* aucupor Heinshts : auguror M. 

" Cf. Virg. Aen. xii. 400. 
" i.e., by Achilles, cf. Hor. Epod. 17. 8. 
' i.e. Apollo. 

SILVAE, I. IV. 103-129 

sj)ume of serpents — <these bring>, and I will join 
thei'eto my skill of hand, and every kindly juice that 
I learned in Arabia's balmy fields, or gathered as a 
shephei'd in the meadows of Amphrysus." 

He ended ; they find the sufferer lying languid 
and battling for life ; " each girds himself in Paeonian 
wise, and willingly both teach and both obey, until 
with varied art of healing they have shattered the 
deadly plague and dispersed the dire cloud of bane- 
ful lethargy. He himself aids the heavenly ones, 
and prevailing o'er the utmost power of the disease 
anticipated the help they bring. Not more swiftly 
was Telephus restored by Haemonian skill,'' nor the 
cruel wounds of which Atrides stood in terror stanched 
by Machaon's healing balm. 

What place, amid such a gathering of Senators 
and people, for anxious prayers of mine ? Yet I 
call the high stars to witness, and thee, Thymbraean 
sire of bards," what terror held me night and day 
while I clung to the portals and in unremitting 
vigilance caught every hint with eye or ear : just as 
a tiny skiff trailing behind a mighty vessel, when the 
tempest rages, bears its small share of the waters' 
fury and is tossed in the self-same gale. 

Twine now, ye Sisters, joyfully twine your threads 
of shining white ! Let none reckon the measure of 
life already spent : this day is the birthday of life 
to be. Thou dost deserve to outlast the age-long 
lives of Troy j'^ the Euboean Sibyl's dust and Nestor's 
mouldering decay. What censer of mine can avail, 
needy as I am, to supplicate for thee ? Not if 
Mevania should empty her valleys or the fields of 
Clitumnus vouchsafed their snow-white bulls, were 
'' Priam or Tithonus, as in ii, 3. 73, v. 3. 256. 


sufficiam. sed saepe dels hos intei* liouores 130 

caespes et exiguo placuerunt farra salitiu. 


Non Helicona gravi pulsat chelys enthea plectro, 
nee lassata voco totiens mihi numina, Musa!> ; 
et te, Phoebe, choris et te diniittinius, Euhan. 
tu quoque muta ferae, volucer Tegeaee, sonorae 
terga prenias : alios poscunt mea carmina coetus. 5 
Naidas, undaruni doniinas, regemque corusci 
ignis adhuc fessum Siculaque incude rubentem 
elicuisse satis, pauluni arnia nocentia, Thebae, 
ponite : dilecto volo lascivire sodali. 
iunge. puer. cyathos — set ne numevare^ labora — 10 
cunctantemque intende chelyn : discede Laborque 
Curaque, dum nitidis canimus gemmantia saxis 
balnea dumque procax vittis hederisque, soluta 
fronde vereeunda.^ Clio mea ludit E!.trusco. 
ite, deae \irides, liquidosque advertite vultus lo 

et vitreum teneris crimen redimite corvmbis, 
veste nihil tectae. quales emergitis altis 
fontibus et visu Satyros torquetis amantes. 
non vos, quae culpa decus infamastis aquarum, 

^ set ne numerare Scrirerinx : et enumerare 3/, nee et 

^ verecunda Baehrens : verecundo M. 

" Salt and roasted meal was the simplest form of sacrifice, 
cf. Hor. C. iii. 23. 20. The turf formed the altar. 

* Mercury invented the lyre from the shell of a tortoise. 
" i.e.. \'ulcan. 


SILVAE, I. IV. 130— V. 19 

tliat sufficient. Yet amid .sucli offerings a simple 
turf, some meal and a humble salt - cellar have 
ofttinies pleased the gods." 


The Baths of Claudius Etrusvus were possibly on tlie 
Quirinal ; they are mentioned hy Martial (vi. 42). For 
their owner see note to Silv. iii. 3. 

Not at Helicon's gates doth my harp resound in 
fierce, ecstatic melody, nor call I on the heavenly 
Muses, so often wearied by my prayer ; thou 
Phoebus, and thou, Euhan, art released from my 
choral song, and do thou, sAvift Tegean, keep in 
mute silence thy tuneful tortoise-shell ^ : other choirs 
doth my song demand. 'Tis enough to lure the 
Naiads hither, queens of the wave, and the lord of 
the flashing fire, weary still and glowing with the 
Sicilian anvil's heat.'' Thebes, lay down thy sinful 
arms awhile ^ : I would fain make revel for a friend 
I love. Cup after cup, lad !— nay, trouble not to 
count them ! Tune the tardy lyre ! Toil and Care, 
avaunt ! while I sing of the baths that sparkle with 
bright mai-bles, and while my Clio, wantoning in ivy 
chaplets and free from the sober laurel, makes sport 
for Etruscus. Come then, ye Nymphs of the waters, 
turn hither your clear countenances and bind up 
your glass-green tresses with tender vine-shoots, 
your bodies all unclothed as when ye emerge from 
the deep springs and torture your Satyr-lovers with 
the sight. You, who with guilt have defamed the 

■* He refers to his Thebaid, whicli recounted the impious 
strife of the bretliren, Eteocles and Polynices. 



sollicitare iuvat ; procul hinc et fonte doloso 20 

Salmacis et viduae Cebrenidos arida liictu 
flumina ct Herculei praedatrix cedat alumni. 
vos mihi, quae Latium septenaque culmina, nymphae, 
incolitis Thybrimque novis attollitis undis, 
quas praeceps Anien atque exceptui-a natatus 25 

Virgo iuvat Marsasque nives et frigora ducens 
Marcia, praeeelsis quarum vaga molibus unda 
crescit et innumero pendens transmittitur arcu — : 
vestrum opu'; aggredimur, vestra est. quani carmine 
molli 29 

pando. domus. non umquam aliis liabil^istis; in antris 
ditius. ipsa manus tenuit Cvtherea mariti 
monstravitque artes ; neu vilis flamma caminos 
ureret, ipsa faces volucrum succendit Amorum. 
non hue admissae Thasos aut undosa Carystos, 
maeret onyx longe, ([ueriturque exclusus ophites : 35 
sola nitet flavis Nomaduni decisa metallis 
purpura^ sola cavo Phrygiae quam Synnados antro 
ipse cruentavit maculis lucentibus^ Attis, 
quasque Tyrus^ niveas secat et Sidonia rupes. 
vix locus Eurotae, viridis cum regula longo 40 

^ hicentibus M: liventibus Pol., Markland : rf. Apoll. 
Si(L xxii. 137. 

^ quasque Tyrus Dom. : quoque tiri M : cumque Tyri 
Vollmer : quasque Tyrus niveas secuit La/aye : quamque 
Paros niveam Pontgate : quaeque Tyri vincas fucatam (or, 
fucum et quae) sindona rupes Slater. See also C.R. xx. pp. 
38, 39. 

" Salmacis enticed Hermaphroditus into her waters and 
united herself indissolubly to him. Cebrenis is Oenone. 
Hylas, ward of Hercules, was drawn by a nymph into the 
spring where he was getting water. 

* Two famous aqueducts, excellent for swimming in and 
drinking respectivelv, from the purity of the one and the 


SILVAE, 1. V. 20-40 

honour of tJie streams, I care not to solicit : far lience 
remove thou, O Salmacis, with thy deceiving fount, 
and the river of Cebrenis left forlorn, that grief made 
dry, and the ravisher of Hercules' young ward ! " 
But ye Nymphs who dwell in I/atium and on the 
Seven Heights and make Thybris swell with your 
fresh waters, ye whom headlong Anio delights and 
the Maiden destined to welcome the swimmer, and 
Marcia that brings down the Marsian snow and cold,** 
ye whose travelling waves flood through the lofty 
masonry and are carried high in air over countless 
arches — yours is the work I fain would sing, yours the 
home whereof my gentle verse doth tell. Never in 
other grottos dwelt ye more sumptuously. Cytherea 
herself guided her lord's hand, and taught him skill ; 
and that no baser flame miglit scorch the furnace, 
herself she kindled the brands of her winged Loves 
thereunder. Neither Thasos nor wave-lashed Carystos 
are suffered here ; " far off the onyx mourns, and the 
serpent-stone rejected makes complaint ; only the 
porphyry gleams, hewn from the Nomads' tawny rocks, 
only that which in the hollow caves of Phrygian 
Synnas Attis bedewed with the bright drops of his 
own blood, and the snow-white cliffs that Tyre and 
Sidon quarry .** Scarce is there space for stone from 

coolness of the other. The " Maiden " fed several baths, 
including those of Agrippa. " See note on i. 2. 148. 

■^ No emendation of the text is convincing here. It is not 
certain whether there is any allusion to marble of Tyre and 
Sidon, of which nothing is otherwise known. The parallel 
in i. 2. 151 suggests rather a comparison with Tyrian dye, 
or, as Slater conjectures, with the purple "sindon" (linen 
garment) of a guest at the banquet ; hence he would read 
" quaeque Tyri vincas fucatam sindona rapes," " marble of 
a deeper purple than fine linen dyed at Tyre." 



Synnada distinctu variat. non limina cessant, 

effulgent camerae, vario fastigia \itro 

in species animosque nitent. stupet ipse beatas 

circumplexus opes et pareius impei*at ignis. 

multus ubique dies, radiis ubi culmina totis 45 

perforat atque alio sol improbus uritur aestu. 

nil ibi plebeium ; nusquani Temesaea notabis 

aera, sed argento felix propellitur unda 

argentoque cadit labrisque nitentibus instat 

delicias mirata suas et abire recusat. 50 

extra autem niveo qui margine caerulus amnis 

V'ivit et in suniniuni fundo^ patet oninis ab inio, 

cui non ii-e lacu pigros(|ue exsolvere amictus 

suadeat ? hoc mallet nasci Cytherea profundo, 

hie te perspicuum melius, Narcisse, videres, 55 

hie velox Hecate velit et deprensa lavari. 

quid nunc strata solo referam tabulata crepantis 

auditura pilas, ubi languidus ignis inerrat 

aedibus et tenuem volvunt hypocausta vaporem ? 

nee si Baianis veniat novus hospes ab oris, 60 

talia despiciet — fas sit componere magnis 

parva — Neronea nee qui modo lotus in unda, 

hie iterum sudare neget. macte, oro, nitenti 

ingenio curaque puer ! tecum ista senescant 

et tua lam melius discat fortuna renasci ! 65 

^ in summum fundo S" : in funduin summo M. 

" See note on i. 1 . 42. 
** The baths of Nero on the Campus Martins. 


SILVAE. I. V 41 65 

tlie Eurotas, where the long hne of green picks out 
the marble of Synnas. The doorways yield not in 
splendour, the ceilings are radiant, the gables glitter 
with mosaics of pictured life. The very fire is 
astounded at the riches he encompasses, and tempers 
the fierceness of his sway. Everywhere is flooding 
light, where the sun pierces the roof with all his rays, 
and, spite of all his fierceness, is scorched by a heat 
that is not his own. NougJit is common there, 
nowhere will you mark bronze of Temese," but from 
silver is the glad wave poured and into silver it falls, 
and marvelling at its own beauty stands poised upon 
the gleaming brim and refuses to go its way. But 
the dark-blue stream without, running gaily between 
snow-white banks, all clear to see from loMcst depth 
to surface — whom would it not tempt to throw off 
his lazy robe and plunge into the water ? From these 
deeps had Cytherea chosen to be born ; here, Narcissus, 
hadst thou seen thyself more clearly ; here would 
suift Hecate fain bathe, e'en though discovered. 
Why now should I tell of the floors laid upon the 
earth, destined to hear the noise of balls, whei-e 
languidly creeps the warmth about the house and a 
scant haze rolls upward from the furnaces below ? 
Such beauty would no guest despise, though fresh 
from the shore of Baiae, nor, if I may compare great 
things with small, would one who had bathed of late 
in Nero's baths ^ refuse to sweat here once more. 
A blessing, Claudius, on thy brilliant cleverness and 
careful thought I may this work grow old with thee, 
and thy fortune learn to rise to a new and more 
glorious birth. 


ST ATI us 



Et Phoebus pater et severa Pallas 
et Musae procul ite feriatae : 
lani vos revocabimus Kalendis. 
Saturnus niihi compede exsoluta 
et multo gravidus mei'o December 5 

et ridens locus et Sales protervi 
adsint, duni refero diem beatum 
laeti Caesaris ebriamque apax'chen.^ 
Vix Aurora novos movebat ortus, 
iam bellaria^ linea pluebant 10 

— hunc rorem veniens profudit eurus : 
quicquid nobile Ponticis nucetis, 
fecundis cadit aut iugis Idymes ; 
quod ramis pia germinat Damascos, 
et quod percoquit ebriosa Caunos,^ 15 

largis gratuitum cadit rapinis ; 
niolles gaioli lucuntulique, 
et massis Amerina non perustis 
et mustaceus et latente palma 
praegnates caryotides cadebant. 20 

^ ebriamque aparchen {i.e. dTrapxv", originally *\/irst- 
fruits,'" "first offering,'''' then '\feast," as in Pint. 40 b) 
Phillimore : parcen M, pacem Pol., noctem li. TJiomson, 
etc. ^ bellaria 5" : vellaria M. 

^ ebriosa Cauiios Waller : aebosia caiinos M, aestuosa 
Imhnf, Ebosea Vollmer, arbor Inda cannas Ellis, et quod 
praecoquit Ebosia cannis La/aye and Slater. 

" Saturn was put in chains by Jupiter, but set free, 
according- to popular belief, on his festival. 

** A rope was stretched across the amphitheatre, from 


SILVAE, I. VI. 1-20 


An account of an entertainment given by the Emperor to 
the people during the Saturnalia. Suetonius (Doniit. 4) 
mentions also chariot-races, sham fights, naval battles in the 
Amphitheatre, combats of gladiators, beasts, etc., and various 
distributions of money and food to the people. 

Hence, father Phoebus and stern Pallas ! Away, 
ye Muses, go, keep holiday ; we will call you back 
at the New Year. But Saturn, slip your fetters '^ and 
come hither, and December tipsy with much wine, 
and laughing Mirth and wanton Wit, while I recount 
the glad festival of our merry Caesar and the ban- 
quet's drunken revel. 

Scarce was the new da^n stirring, when already 
sweetmeats were raining from the line,^ such was 
the dew the rising East wind was scattering ; the 
fiimous fruit of Pontic nut-groves, or of Idume's 
fertile slopes,'' all that devout Damascus grows upon 
its boughs ^ or thirsty Caunus " ripens, falls in a 
generous profusion. Biscuits and melting pastries,^ 
Amerian fruit ^ not over-ripe, must-cakes, and burst- 
ing dates from invisible palms were showering down. 

which the dainties were shaken down amona; the people, cf. 
Mart. viii. 78. 7. 

" i.e., dates ; Idume often in Statins for Palestine, cf. Liic. 
iii. 216. ** i.e., plums (damsons). 

<■ Cannus in Asia Minor was famous for its figs. Kbosia, 
the MS. reading, would refer to Ebusus, one of the Balearic 
isles, modern Iviza, which Pliny praises for its figs ; but 
the combination with Caunos, "the fig-town of Ebusus" 
(Vollmer), is awkward. Slater, following Eafaye (Notes on 
the Silvae, Paris, 1896), reads " et quod praecoquit Ebosia 

f So-called because they were in the shape of human 
figures, i.e. little " Gaii." 

' From Ameria came apples and pears. 

VOL. I F Q5 



non tantis Hyas inserena nimbis 

terras obruit aut soluta Plias, 

qualis per cuneos hiems Latinos 

plebem grandine contudit serena. 

ducat nubila luppiter per orbem 25 

et latis pluvias minetur agris, 

dum nostri lovis hi ferantur imbres. 

Ecce autem caveas subit per omnis 
insignis specie, decora cultu 
plebes altera non minor sedente. 30 

hi panaria candidasque mappas 
subvectant epulasque lautiores ; 
ilh marcida vina lai'giuntur : 
Idaeos totidem putes ministros. 
oi'bem, qua mehor severiorque est, 35 

et gentes ahs insimuP togatas, 
et cum tot populos, beate,^ pascas, 
hunc Annona diem superba nescit.^ 
i nunc saecula compara, Vetustas, 
antiqui lovis aureumque tempus : 40 

non sic hbera vina tunc fluebant 
nee tardum seges occupabat annum, 
una vescitur omnis ordo mensa, 
parvi, femina, plebs, eques, senatus : 
libertas reverentiam remisit. 45 

et tu quin etiam — quis hoc vacare,* 
quis promittere possit hoc deorum ? — 
nobiscum socias dapes inisti. 
iam se, quisquis is est, inops, beatus, 
convivam ducis esse gloriatur. 50 

Hos inter fremitus novosque hixus 
spectandi le\ds effugit voluptas : 

^ insimul S" : insemel M. 
^ beate Hessius and Lafaye : beata M. 

SILVAE, I. VI. 21-52 

Not with such torrents do stormy Hyades o'erwhelm 
the earth or Pleiades dissolved in rain, as the hail 
that from a sunny sky lashed the people in the 
theatre of Rome. Let Jupiter send his tempests 
through the world and threaten the broad fields, 
while our own Jove sends us showers like these ! 

But lo ! another multitude, handsome and well- 
dressed, as numerous as that upon the benches, 
makes its way along all the rows. Some carry 
baskets of bread and white napkins and more luxu- 
rious fare ; others serve languorous wine in abundant 
measure ; so many cupbearers of Ida " would you 
think them. Thou dost nourish alike the circle of 
the noble and austere and the folk that wear the 
toga, and since, O generous lord, thou dost feed so 
many multitudes, haughty Annona knoweth nought 
of this festival.'' Come now. Antiquity, compare 
with ours the age of primeval Jove and the times of 
gold : less bounteously then did the vintage flow, 
not thus did the harvest anticipate the tardy year. 
One table serves every class alike, children, women, 
people, knights, and senators : freedom has loosed 
the bonds of awe. Nay even thyself — ^what god 
could have such leisure, or vouchsafe as much ? — 
thou didst come and share our banquet. And now 
everyone, be he rich or poor, boasts himself the 
Emperor's guest. 

Amid such excitements and strange luxuries the 
pleasure of the scene flies quickly by : women un- 

" i.e., so many Ganyinedes. 

** The feast is free and gratis, therefore the price of bread 
has nothing to do with it. 

* nescit M : nescis S". 
* vacare Fhillimore : vocare M: vocari Ettigius. 


ST ATI us 

stat sexus rudis insciu-^que ferri ; 

ut pugnas capit improbus viriles ! 

credas ad Tanain ferumque Phasini 55 

Thermodontiacas calere turmas. 

hie audax subit ordo pumilorum, 

quos natura brevis statim peracta 

nodosum semel in globuni ligavit. 

edunt vulnera conseruntque dextras 60 

et mortem sibi — qua manu ! — minantur. 

ridet Mars pater et cruenta Virtus 

casuraeque vagis grues rapinis 

mirantur pugiles^ ferociores. 

lam noctis propioribus sub umbris 65 

dives sparsio quos agit tumultus ! 
hie intrant faciles emi puellae, 
hie agnoscitur omne, quod theatris 
aut forma placet aut probatur arte, 
hoc plaudunt grege Lydiae tumentes, 70 

illic cymbala tinnulaeque Gades, 
ilHc agmina confremunt S\Torum, 
hie plebs scenica quique comminutis 
permutant vitreis gregale sulpur. 

Inter quae subito cadunt volatu 75 

immensae volucrum per astra nubes, 
quas Nilus sacer horridusque Phasis, 
quas udo Xumidae legunt sub austro. 
desunt qui rapiant sinusque pleni 
gaudent, dum nova lucra comparantur. 80 

tollunt innumeras ad astra voces 
Saturnaha principis sonantes 


SILVAE, I. VI. 53-82 

trained to the sword take their stand, daring, how 
recklessly, men's battles I you would think Ther- 
modon's bands " were furiously lighting by Tanais or 
barbarous Phasis. Then comes a bold array of 
dwarfs, whose term of growth abruptly ended has 
bound them once for all into a knotted lump. They 
give and suffer wounds, and threaten death — with 
fists how tiny ! Father Mars and Bloodstained 
Valour laugh, and cranes,^ waiting to swoop on 
scattered booty, marvel at the fiercer pugilists. 

Now as the shades of night draw on, what com- 
motion attends the scattei-ing of largess ! Here 
enter maidens easily bought ; here is recognized all 
that in theatres wins favour or applause for skill or 
l)eauty. Here a crowd of buxom Lydian girls are 
clapping hands, here tinkle the cymbals of Cadiz, 
there troops of Syrians are making uproar, there are 
theatre-folk and they who barter common sulphur 
for broken glass.'' 

Amid the tumult dense clouds of birds swoop 
suddenly down through the air, bii-ds from holy Nile '^ 
and frost-bound Phasis, birds that Numidians capture 
'neath the dripping South. Too few are there to 
seize them all, exultantly they grasp their fill and 
ever clutch fresh plunder. Countless voices are raised 
to heaven, acclaiming the Emperor's festival ; with 

" i.e., Amazons. 

'' These dwarfs seem fiercer fighters than the old enemies 
of the cranes, viz. the Pygmies (Hom. //. iii. S). 

" Rag-and-bone men plying the same trade are mentioned 
bv Martial, i. 41. 4. For sulphur matches cf. also Martial, 
x." 3. 3. 

** Flamingos (Nile), pheasants (Phasis), guinea-fowl (Nu- 

^ pugiles Friederich : pumilos M. 



et dulci doniinum favore clamant : 
hoc solum vetuit licere Caesar. 

Vixdum caerula nox subibat orbem, 85 

descendit media nitens harena 
densas flammeus orbis inter umbras 
vincens Gnosiacae facem coronae. 
conlucet polus ignibus nihilque 
obscurae patitur licere nocti. 90 

fugit pigra Quies inersque Somnus 
haec cernens alias abit in urbes. 
quis spectacula, quis iocos licentes, 
quis convivia, quis dapes inemptas, 
largi flumina quis canat Lyaei ? 95 

iam iam deficio tuoque Baccho^ 
in serum trahor ebrius soporem. 

Quos ibit procul hie dies per annos ! 
quam nullo sacer exolescet aevo ! 
dum montes Latii paterque Thybris, 100 

dum stabit tua Roma dumque terris 
quod reddis Capitolium manebit. 

^ tnoqiie Baccho S" : tuaque Baccho AT. 


SILVAE, I. VI. 83-102 

loving entliusiasm they salute their Lord. This 
liberty'' alone did Caesar forbid them. 

Scarce was dusky night shrouding the world, when 
through the dense gloom a ball of flame fell gleaming 
into the arena's midst, surpassing the brigjitness of 
the Gnosian crown .^ The sky was ablaze ^vith fire, 
and suffered not the reign of darkness : sluggish 
Quiet fled, and lazy Sleep betook himself to other 
cities at the sight. Who can sing of the spectacle, 
the unrestrained mirth, the banqueting, the unbought 
feast, the lavish streams of wine ? Ah ! now I faint, 
and drunken with thy liquor drag myself at last to 

For how many years shall this festival abide ! 
Never shall age destroy so holy a day ! While the 
hills of Latium remain and ftither Tiber, while thy 
Rome stands and the Capitol thou hast restored to 
the world, it shall continue. 

" i.e., to salute him as "Dominus"; for Doniitian's titles 
of " Dominus et Deus " see Suet. Dom. 1.3. 
** The constellation called Ariadne's crown. 




Et familiaritas nostra qua gaudeo, Melior, vir 
optime nee minus in iudicio Htterarum quam in 
omni vitae colore tersissime, et ipsa opusculorum 
quae tibi trado condicio sic posita est ut totus hie 
ad te^ liber meus etiamsine epistola spectet.^ Primum 
enim habet Glauciam nostrum, cuius gratissima 
infantia^ et qualem plerumque infelices sortiuntur 
(apud te complexus amabam) iam non tibi. Huius 
amissi recens vulnus, ut scis, epicedio prosecutus 
sum adeo festinanter, ut excusandam habuerim 
afFectibus tuis celeritatem. Nee nunc eam apud te 
iacto, qui nosti, sed et ceteris indico, ne quis asperiore 
lima carmen examinet et a confuso scriptum et 
dolenti datum, cum paene supervacua sint tarda 
solacia. Polli mei villa Surrentina quae sequitur, 
debuit a me vel in honorem eloquentiae eius dili- 
gentius dici, sed amicus igno\-it. In arborem certe 
tuam, Melior, et psittacum scis a me leves libellos 
quasi epigrammatis loco scriptos. Eandem exigebat 

^ ad te Vollmer : altae M, alter s". 

^ spectet Baehrens : expect et M. {Baelir. inserted ad te 
before spectet. 

* gratissima infantia M : gratissimam infantiam S". 


Statius to his Friexd Melior : Greeting I 

Not only our friendship wherein I take such pleasure, 
my excellent Melior. who are as fiiultless in your 
literary judgement as in every phase of life, but also 
the actual circumstances of the poems I am presenting 
to you are responsible for the whole of this book of 
mine being directed towards you, even without an 
introductory letter. For its first subject is our 
beloved Glaucias, whose charming infancy — a charm 
so often bestowed on the unfortunate — is lost to 
you now ; I loved him when I took him in my 
arms at your house. While that wound was yet 
fresh, I wrote as you know a poem of consolation, 
with such dispatch that I felt my pi'omptness owed 
an apology to your feelings. Nor am I boasting of it 
now to you who know, but warning others not to 
criticize too sharply a poem written in distress and 
sent to one in sorrow, seeing that sympathy must be 
timely or else superfluous. The Surrentine Villa of 
my friend Pollio which follows should have been 
written with greater care if only in honour of his 
eloquent tongue, but he has displayed a friend's 
indulgence. Certainly the trifling pieces on your 
tree, Melior, and on the parrot were as you know 
dashed off like epigrams. A like facility of pen was 



stili facilitatem leo mansuetus, quem in amphi- 
theatro prostratum frigidum erat, sacratissimo 
Imperatori ni statim traderem Ad Ursum quoque 
nostrum, iuvenem candidissimum et sine iactura 
desidiae doctissimum, scriptam de amisso puero 
consolationem super ea quae ipsi debeo huic libvo 
libenter in'^erui, quia honorem eius tibi laturus 
accepto est. Cludit^ volumen genethliacon Lucani, 
quod Polla Argentaria, rarissima uxorum, cum hunc 
diem forte eonsuleremus, imputari sibi voluit. Ego 
non potui maiorem tanti auctoris habere reverentiam 
quam quod laudes eius dicturus hexametros meos 
timui. haee qualiaeumque sunt, Melior carissime, 
si tibi non displicuerint, a te publicum accipiant ; si 
minus, ad me revertantur. 

^ esh cludit Madvig : excludit 3/. 



demanded by the Tame Lion, for had I not presented 
liim to His Alost Sacred Majesty while still lying in 
the amphitheatre, all the effect would have been 
missed. Then there is the consolatory piece I wrote 
on the loss of his slave-boy for our friend Ursts, a 
youth of blameless life and an accomplished poet, 
M'ho wastes no time in idleness ; I was glad to 
include it in this book, quite apart from the debt I 
owe to him, for he will credit you with the honour 
he derives therefrom. The volume is concluded by 
the Birthday Ode to Lucan, for which Polla Argen- 
taria, rarest of wives, desired to be held accountable, 
when we happened to be considering the celebration 
of the day. I could not show a deeper reverence for 
so great a poet than by distrusting my own hexa- 
meters when about to sing his praises. These pieces, 
my excellent Melior, such as they are, if you like 
them, give them to the world : if not, let them 
return to me. 




Quod tibi praerepti, Melior, solamen alumni, 
improbus ante rogos et adhuc vivente favilla 
ordiar ? abruptis etiam nunc flebile venis 
vulnus hiat, niagnaeque patet via lubrica plagae. 
cum lam egomet cantus et verba medentia saevus 5 
consero, tu planetus lamentaque fortia ina\is 
odistique chelyn surdaque averteris aura, 
intempesta cano : citius me tigris abactis 
fetibus orbatique velint audire leones. 
nee si tergeminum Sicula de virgine carmen 10 

affluat aut sihis chelys intellecta ferisque, 
mulceat insanos gemitus. stat pectore demens 
luctus et admoto latrant praecordia tactu. 

Nemo vetat : satiare malis aegrumque dolorem 
libertate doma. iam flendi expleta voluptas 15 

iamque preces fessus non indignaris arnicas ? 

" i.e., the wound in all its length, a " path " leading to a 
vital spot. 

* The Sirens, whose number is variously given as two or 
as three ; in ii. 2. 1, Statius places them at Sorrento. 


SILVAE, II. I. 1-16 


In this and the following Epicedia Statins shows the in- 
fliience both of philosophic consolation such as ire see it in 
Seneca, or the Consolatio ad Liviam, and also of the rhetorical 
schools with their enTdcpioL and Trapa/j.v6riTiKoi, divided into 
regular parts, such as Praise of the departed, description of 
the illness and death, description of the burial, loelcome of 
the sold of the dead one in the under-world, etc. Statiiis's 
treatment is free, as in the Epithtdamium ; mythological 
allusion is frequent, and teas tindouhtedlij part of the poetic 
convention of the time, and therefore should, not be condemned 
as frigid and implying a lack of true feeling. The reader 
may compare earlier poems of the same kind, e.g. Horace, 
C. i. 24 ; Propertius, iii. 18, iv. 11 ; Ovid, Am. iii. 9. Two 
poems of Martial (vi. 28, 29) were also written on tlie same 

How can I begin to console thee, Melior, for thy 
foster-son untimely taken ? How can I heartlessly 
sing before the pyre, while the ashes are still aglow ? 
The lamentable wound gapes wide with sundered 
veins, and the dangerous path of the great gash lies 
open.** Even while I relentlessly compose my spells 
and healing words, thou dost prefer to beat the breast 
and cry aloud, and hatest my lyre and turnest away 
with deaf ear. Untimely is my song : sooner would 
a despoiled lioness or tigress robbed of her cubs give 
ear to me. Not if the triple chant of the Sicilian 
maidens ^ were wafted hither, or the harp that beasts 
and woodlands understood, would they soothe thy 
distracted wailing. Demented Grief hath his stand 
in thy heart ; at a touch thy breast heaves and sobs. 

Have thy fill of bitterness : none forbids thee. 
Overcome, by giving it rein, the malady of thy 
distress. At last is thy luxury of weeping sated ? 
At last art thou wearied out and deignest to hear a 



iamne canani ? lacrimis en et mea carmina in ipso 
ore^ natant tristesque cadunt in verba litui-ae. 
ipse etenim tecum nigrae solemnia pompae 
spectatumque Urbi scelus et puerile feretrum 20 

produxi, saevos damnati turis acervos 
plorantemque animam supra sua funera vidi, 
teque patrum gemitus superantem et brachia matrum 
complexumque rogos ignemque haurire parantem 
vix tenui similis comes offendique tenendo. 25 

et nunc, heu, vittis et frontis honore soluto 
infaustus vates versa mea pectora tecum 
plango lyra, sed tu^ comitem sociumque doloris, 
si merui luctusque tui consortia sensi, 
iam lenis patiare precor. me fulmine in ipso 30 

audivere pafres, ego iuxta busta profusis 
matribus atque piis cecini solacia natis 
et mihi, cum proprios gemerem defectus ad ignes 
— quem, Natura ! — patrem. nee te lugere severus 
arceo, sed confer gemitus pariterque fleamus. 35 

lamdudum dignos aditus laudumque tuarum, 
o merito dilecte puer, primordia quaerens 
distrahor. hinc anni stantes in limine vitae, 
hinc me forma rapit, rapit inde modestia praecox 
et pudor et tenero probitas maturior aevo. 40 

o ubi purpureo suifusus sanguine candor 
sidereique orbes radiataque lumina caelo 
et castigatae collecta modestia frontis 

* carmina in ipso ore 3/ : carmine in ipso ora Friedrich. 
^ sed tu Vollmer : et diu M, at diri r, at dici Slater. 

" The souls of those untimely dead were supposed to 
bewail their lot, cf. Virg. Aen. vi. 427 " infantumque animae 


SILVAE, II. I. 17-43 

friend's entreaty ? Now shall I sing ? Lo ! even in 
my mouth my song is choked witli sobs, the words 
are blotted by falling tears. For I myself led forth 
with thee the solemn line of sable mourners and the 
boyish bier, a crime for the City to behold ; I saw 
the cruel heaps of incense doomed to destruction and 
the soul wailing above its own corpse « ; thee too, 
as thou didst break through sobbing fathers and 
mothers that would stay thee, and didst embrace 
the pyre and prepare to swallow the flames, could I 
scarce restrain, thy comrade in like case, and offended 
by restraining. And now, alas ! a bard of evil, my 
fillets imbound and the glory departed from my 
brow, I reverse my lyre and beat my breast with 
thee ; but be assuaged, I pray thee, and suffer me 
as partner of thy mourning, if I have so deserved and 
shared thy sorrow. In the very hour of calamity 
fathers have heard my voice ; by the very pyre have 
I sung solace to prostrate mothers and loving children 
— ay, to myself also, when swooning beside kindred 
flames I mourned, O Nature, what a father ! Nor 
do I sternly forbid thee to lament ; nay, let us 
mingle our tears and weep together. 

Long have I sought distractedly, beloved boy, a 
worthy approach and prelude to thy praises. Here 
thy boyhood, standing on life's threshold, calls me, 
there thy beauty, there a modesty beyond thy years 
and honour and probity too ripe for thy tender age. 
Ah ! where is that fair complexion flushed by the 
glow of health, those starry orbs whose glance is 
radiant with heaven's light, where the chaste com- 

flentes." For souls hovering about the funeral pyre cf. 
Theb. V. 163, xii. 55: they are often so represented on Attic 


ST ATI us 

ingenuique super crines mollisque decorae 44 

niargo comae ? blandis ubinam ora arguta querelis 
osculaque impliciti vernos redolentia flores 
et niixtae risu laerimae peiiitusque loquentis 
Hyblaeis vox mixta fjivis ? cui sibila serpens 
poneret et saevae vellent servire novercae. 
nil veris adfingo bonis, heu lactea colla ! 50 

braehia, quo^ numquam domini sine pondere cervix ! 
o ubi venturae spes non longinqua iuventae 
atque genis optatus honos iurataque multum 
barba tibi ? cuncta in cineres gravis intulit hora 
hostilisque dies : nobis meminisse relictum. 55 

quis tua colloquiis hilaris mulcebit amatis 
pectora ? quis curas mentisque arcana remittet ? 
accensum quis bile fera famulisque tumentem^ 
leniet ardentique in se deflectet ab ira ? 
inceptas quis ab ore dapes libataque vina 60 

auferet et dulci turbabit cuncta rapina ? 
quis matutinos abrumpet murmure somnos 
impositus stratis abitusque morabitur artis 
nexibus atque ipso revocabit ad oscula poste^ ? 
obvius intranti rursus quis in ora manusque 65 

prosiliet brevibusque umei'os circumdabit ulnis ? 
muta domus, fateor, desolatique penates, 
et situs in thalamis et maesta silentia niensis ! 

Quid niirum, tanto si te pius altor honorat 
funere ? tu domino requies portusque senectae, 70 

^ braehia, quo Saftien : brachiaque M. 
^ tumentem Pol. {from P) : timentem 31. 
^ ipso . . . poste 5" : ipsos . . . postes M. 

" Always much admired in ancient times ; " castigata " 

SILVAE, II. I. 44-70 

posure of that low " brow, the ai'tless curls above and 
the soft line of lovely hair ? Where is the mouth that 
prattled with fond complainings, those kisses redolent, 
as he clung, of vernal blossoms, his tears mingled 
with smiles, and his accents steeped in Hybla's 
honey ? A serpent would hush its hissing and cruel 
stepdames be fain to do his bidding. Nothing false 
do I add to his true beauty. Alas ! that milk-white 
throat ! those arms that were ever about his master's 
neck ! Where now is that not far distant hope of 
coming manhood, the longed-for glory of his cheeks, 
that beard that thou oft didst swear by ? The 
remorseless hour and Time the enemy have swept 
all to ashes : to us is left but to remember. Who 
will beguile thy thoughts with the merry chatter 
thou didst love ? who will allay thy cares and brood- 
ing mind ? Who will appease thee when incensed 
with angry passion and storming at the serving-folk, 
and divert thee from thy fury to himself ? Who, 
when the feast is begun and the wine poured out, will 
snatch it away e'en from thy lips and confound all 
things in delightful rapine ? Who will climb on thy 
couch in the morning and whisper thee awake, and 
clasping thee tight delay thy going, and from the 
very gate recall thee to his kisses ? Who will be the 
first to meet thee on thy return, and leap to thy kiss 
and thy embrace, and put his tiny arms about thy 
shoulders ? Mute is the house, I vow, and lonely 
the hearth ; desolation is in the chambers and a 
drear silence at the board. 

What wonder if thy good foster-father honours 
thee mth so grand a funeral ? thou wert to thy lord 

( =" controlled, narrowed down ") is used of a horse's mane, 
Theb. ix. 687 ; cf. also vi. 872, Ov. Am. i. 5. 21. 

vol,. I G 81 


tu modo deliciae, dulces modo pectore curae. 
non te barbaricae versabat turbo catastae, 
nee mixtus Phai'iis venalis niercibus infans 
eompositosque sales meditataque verba locutus 
quaesisti lascivus erum tardeque parasti. 75 

hie domus, hinc ortus, dominique penatibus olim 
carus uterque parens atque in tua gaudia liber, 
ne quererere genus, raptum sed protinus alvo 
sustulit exsultans ac prima lucida voce 
astra salutantem dominus <^ibi niente dicavit, 80 

amplexusque sinu tulit et genuisse putavit. 
fas niihi sanctorum venia dixisse parentum, 
tuque, oro, Natura, sinas, cui prima per orbem 
iura animis sancire datum : non omnia sanguis 
proximus aut serie generis demissa propago 85 

alligat ; interius nova saepe adscitaque serpunt 
pignora conexis. natos genuisse necesse est, 
elegisse iuvat. tenero sic blandus Achilli 
semifer Haemonium vincebat Pelea Chiron, 
nee senior Peleus natum comitatus in arma 90 

Troica, sed claro Phoenix haerebat alumno. 
optabat longe reditus Pallantis ovantis 
Evander, fidus pugnas spectabat Acoetes. 
cumque procul nitidis genitor cessaret ab astris, 
fluctivagus volucrem comebat Persea Dictys. 95 

quid referam altricum victas pietate parentes ? 
quid te post cineres deceptaque funera matris 

" Such as slaves were commonly displayed on. 

'' The "lifting-up" of a new-horn child by the father 
siarnified his recognition of it as his own. On this occasion 
Melior shows that he has adopted the child. 

" The son of Danae bj' Zeus. Dictys was a fisherman of 
Seriphus, the island to which Danae and her babe were 


SILVAE, II. I. 71-97 

t]ie peaceful haven of his old age, thou wert now his 
delight, now the sweet object of his care. No out- 
landish revolving stage " turned thee about, no slave- 
boy wert thou amid Egyptian wares, to utter studied 
jests and well-conned speeches, and by impudent 
tricks to seek and slowly Min a master. Here was 
thy home, here wast thou born, both thy parents have 
long been loved in their master's house, and for thy 
joy were they freed, lest thou shouldst complain of 
thy birth. Nay, no sooner wert thou taken from the 
womb, when thy lord exultantly raised thee,'' and as 
thy first cry greeted the shining stars appointed thee 
for his own and held thee close in his bosom and 
deemed himself thy sire. May the sanctities of 
parents forgive my words, and do thou suffer me, O 
Nature, to whom it is given to hallow the earliest ties 
between soul and soul throughout the world : bonds 
of blood and lineage are not all ; often do alien or 
adopted children creep further into our hearts than 
our own kindred. Of necessity we beget sons, of 
our pleasure do we choose them. Thus by his win- 
ning ways the half-beast Chiron supplanted Hae- 
monian Peleus in young Achilles' favour. Nor did 
the aged Peleus accompany his son to the fight at 
Troy, but 'twas Phoenix that stirred not from his 
pupil's side. Far off Evander prayed for Pallas' 
victorious return, but faithful Acoetes watched the 
combat. And when his sire for idleness came not 
from the shining stars, wave-wandering Dictys tended 
the winged Perseus." Why should I speak of mothers 
surpassed in their affection by foster-nurses ? Why of 
thee, O Bacchus, who when a treacherous doom had 

washed in the wooden chest, "volucrem" refers to the 
winged sandals given him by Hermes to fight Medusa. 



tutius Inoo reptantem pectore, Bacche ? 

iam secura patris Tuscis i-egnabat in undis 

Ilia, portantem lassabat Romulus Accam. 100 

vidi ego transertos alieno in robore ramos 

altius ire suis. et te iam fecerat illi 

mens animusque patrem, necdum moresve decorve : 

tu tamen et iunctas^ etiam nunc murmure voces 

vagitumque rudem fletusque infantis amabas. 105 

Ille, velut prinios exspiraturus ad austros 
mollibus in pratis alte flos improbus exstat, 
sic tener ante diem vultu gressuque superbo 
vicerat aequales multumque reliquerat annos. 
sive catenatis curvatus membra palaestris 110 

staret : Amyclaea conceptum matre putares, 
Oebaliden illo praeceps mutaret Apollo, 
Alcides pensaret Hylan ; seu Grains^ amictu 
Attica facundi decurreret orsa Menandri : 
laudaret ga\isa sonum crinemque decorum 115 

fregisset rosea lasciva Thalia corona ; 
Maeonium sive ille senem Troiaeque labores 
diceret aut casus tarde remeantis Ulixis : 
ipse pater sensus, ipsi stupuere magistri. 
scilicet infausta Lachesis cunabula dextra 120 

attigit, et gremio puerum complexa fovebat 
Invidia : ilia genas et adultum comere crinem, 
haec monstrare artes et verba infigere, quae nunc 
plangimus. Herculeos annis aequare labores 

^ iiinctas M2 : vinctas M : truncas Baehrens. 
^ Graius S" : aratus M. 

" She was the sister of Semele, the mother of Bacchus. 

* Ilia (see note on i. 2. 192) was drowned in the Anio by 
her father Amulius, but became the wife of the river-god. 
Acca was the nurse of Romulus. 

SILVAE, II. I. 98-124 

laid thy motliei* in ashes nestled moi'e securely in 
Ino's bosom ? '^ And when Ilia, fearing her sire no 
more, reigned a queen in Tuscan waters,** Romulus 
was burdening Acca's arms. I have seen myself 
shoots grafted on another tree grow higher than their 
own. And already had thy will and purpose, Melior. 
made thee his sire, though not yet his charm and 
goodness ; nevertheless tliou didst love the words 
even now mingled with his utterance, and his rude 
infant cries and tears. 

He, like a flower that is doomed to perish at the 
first breath of the South wind, yet with reckless 
daring lifts high its head in the lush meadow, young 
as he was liad early surpassed his peers in pride of 
step and countenance, and had far outstripped his 
years. Did he stand with limbs bent in the locked 
wrestling-bout, you would have deemed liim born of 
an Amyclaean mother ^ ; Apollo would soon have 
exchanged for him the son of Oebalus,^ Alcides had 
bartered Hylas ; if in Grecian dress he declaimed 
the Attic speech of fluent Menander, Thalia would 
have rejoiced and praised his accents, and in wanton 
mood have disordered his comely locks witli a rosy 
garland ; or if he recited the old Maeonian and the 
toils of Troy, or the mishaps and slow returning of 
Ulysses, his very father, his very teachers were 
amazed at his understanding. Truly did Lachesis " 
touch his cradle witli ill-omened hand, and Envy 
clasped the babe and held him in her bosom : the 
one fondled his cheeks and luxuriant curls, the other 
tauglit him his skill and inspired those words over 
which we now make moan. His rising years, though 

° i.e.. Spartan, the Spartan youths being famed for their 
wrestling. ^ i.e., K^arcissus. * One of the Fates. 



coeperat adsurgens, sed adhuc infantia iuxta ; 125 
iam tanien et validi gressus mensuraque niaior 
cultibus et visae puero decrescere vestes, 
cum tibi quas vestes, quae non gestamina mitis 
festinabat erus ! brevibus non stringere^ laenis 
pectora et angustante alas^ artare lacerna ; 130 

enormes non ille sinus, sed semper ad annos 
texta legens modo puniceo velabat amictu, 
nunc herbas imitante sinu, nunc dulce rubenti 
murice, nunc vivis digitos incendere gemmis 
gaudebat : non turba comes, non munera cessant : 135 
sola verecundo deerat praetexta decori. 

Haec fortuna domus. subitas inimica levavit 
Parca manus. quo, diva, feros gravis exseris ungues ? 
non te forma movet, non te lacrimabilis aetas ? 
hunc nee saeva viro potuisset carpere Procne, 140 
nee fera crudeles Colchis durasset in iras, 
editus Aeolia nee si foret iste Creusa ; 
torvus ab hoc Athanias insanos flecteret arcus, 
hunc quamquam Hectoreos cineres Troiamque per- 

turribus e Phrygiis flesset missurus Ulixes 145 

septima lux, et iam frigentia lumina torpent, 
iam complexa manu crinem tenet infera luno. 

^ non stringere Postgate : constringere M. 
^ angustante alas Postgate : angusta telas M. 

" Or, keeping the ms. reading, translate " he would 
fasten a short tunic on thy chest, and contract the web with 
a narrow cloak." Cf. Theb. vi. 74 ff. In any case the 
meaning, first made clear by Macnaghten {Journ. Phil., 
1891), is that Glaucias was ahvays given clothes which fitted 
exactly, neither too large nor too small. 

'' The toga with a purple border, worn by free-born 
children up to the age of 16. Glaucias was slave-born. 


SILVAE, II. I. 125-147 

infancy still was near, had begun to draw level with 
the toils of Hercules ; yet already was he firm 
of stride, and his height outstripped his dress, and 
the garments seemed to shrink upon the lad, for 
what garments, what apparel did not thy kindly lord 
hasten to procure thee ? He constrained not thy 
breast in a narrow tunic," nor cramped thy shoulders in 
a straitening cloak ; nor did he drape thee in large, 
ill-fitting folds, but ever suiting the raiment to thy 
years now garbed thee in scarlet, now in grass-green 
clothing, now in the soft blush of purple, or rejoiced 
to kindle the flash of gems upon tiiy fingers ; unfail- 
ing was thy attendant train, unfailing were his gifts ; 
the bordered robe ** alone was lacking to thy modest 

Such was the fortune of that house. Suddenly 
Fate lifted her hand to strike. Wherefore, O god- 
dess, dost thou banefully unsheathe those cruel 
talons ? Doth not his beauty move thee, or his 
piteous tender age ? Fierce Procne would not have 
had the heart to rend him for her lord, nor would 
the savage Colchian have persisted in her cruel ire, 
even though he had been the son of Aeolian Creusa ; 
from him would grim Athamas have turned aside his 
maddened bow ; Ulysses though hating Hector's 
ashes and Troy full sore would have wept to hurl 
him from the Phrygian towers.*^ 'Tis the seventh 
day, and already those eyes are dull and cold, and 
Juno of the underworld hath clasped him and seized 

" Procne slew lier son Itys and gave him as food to her 
husband Tereus ; Medea was deserted by Jason for Creusa ; 
Aeolian = Corinthian, because Sisyphus, King of Corinth, was 
son of Aeolus, cf. " Sisyphii portus," Tlteb. ii. 380 ; Athamas 
in madness slew his son Learchus ; Astyanax, son of Hector, 
was flung by Ulysses from the walls of Troy. 



ille tamen, Parcis fragiles urgentibus annos, 
te vultu moriente videt linguaque cadente 
murmurat ; in te omnes vacui iam pectoris efflat 150 
reliquias, solum meminit solumque vocantem 
exaudit tibique ora movet, tibi verba relinquit 
et prohibet gemitus consolaturque dolentem. 
gratum est, Fata, tamen, quod non mors lenta iacentis 
exedit puerile decus, manesque subivit 155 

integer et nullo temeratus corpora damno, 
qualis erat. 

Quid ego exsequias et prodiga flammis 
dona loquar maestoque ardentia funera luxu ? 
quod tibi purpureo tristis rogus aggei-e cre\'it, 
quod Cilicum flores, quod munera graminis Indi, 160 
quodque Arabes Phariique Palaestinique^ liquores 
arsuram lavere comam ? cupit omnia ferre 
prodigus et totos Melior succendere census, 
desertas exosus opes ; sed non capit ignis 
invidus, atque artae desunt in munera flammae. 165 
horror habet sensus. qualem te funere summo 
atque rogum iuxta, Melior placidissime quondam, 
extimui ! tune ille hilaris comisque videri ? 
unde animi saevaeque manus et barbarus horror, 
dum modo fusus humi lucem aversaris iniquam, 170 
nunc torvus pariter vestes et pectora rumpis 
dilectosque premis visus et frigida lambis 
oscula ? erant illic genitor materque iacentis 
maesta, sed attoniti te spectavere parentes. 174: 

quid mirum ? plebs cuncta nefas et prae\ia flerunt 
agmina, Flaminio quae limite Molvius agger 

^ Palaestinique Selden : palam est vidique M. 

" Saffron, frankincense. 
* Myrrh, balsam, 


SILVAE, II. I. 148-176 

in her Jiand tlie lock of hair. Yet he, tliough the 
Fates press hard upon his frail life, beholds thee 
with his dying vision and murmurs thy name with 
faltering tongue ; to thee he gasps out the last 
breath from his exhausted frame, thee alone he 
remembers, thy cry alone he hears, for thee his lips 
are moved and his last words spoken, as he bids thee 
not to mourn and consoles thy grief. Yet we thank 
thee, O Fate, that no lingering death devoured his 
boyish charm as he lay, that he went inviolate to 
the shades, just as he was, without touch of harm 
upon his body. 

Why should I tell of the funeral rites, the gifts 
flung prodigally to the flarnes, the melancholy pomp 
of the blazing pyre ? How thou didst heap the purples 
high on the sad pile, how Cilician blooms and gifts 
of Indian herbs," and juices of Arabia and Palestine 
and Egypt ^ steeped the hair that Avas to burn ? 
Fain would Melior bring all without stinting, and 
consume whole fortunes in loathing of his wealth 
laid desolate ; but the grudging fire avails not, and 
the puny flames are too few to burn the gifts. Awe 
lays hold upon my heart. O Melior, once so calm, 
how distraught wert thou in that deadly hour beside 
the pyre, how I feared thee ! Was that the merry, 
kindly face we knew ? Whence that frenzy, those 
merciless hands, those spasms of wild grief as thou 
liest prostrate on the ground shunning the cruel light, 
or fiercely tearest thy clothes and bosom, straining 
the dear face to thee and kissing the cold lips ? The 
fiither and sorrowing mother of the dead one were 
there, but on thee they gazed awe-stricken — what 
wonder ? All the people mourned the deadlv blow, 
and crowds escorted thee on the Flaminian road 



transvehit, immeritus flammis dum tristibus infans 
traditur, et geniitum formaque aevoque^ meretur : 
talis in Isthmiacos prolatus ab aequore portus 
naufragus imposita iacuit sub matre Palaemon ; 180 
sic et in anguiferae ludentem gramine Lernae 
rescissum squamis avidus bibit ignis^ Ophelten. 

Pone metus Letique minas desiste vereri : 
ilium nee terno latrabit Cerberus ore, 
nulla soror flammis, nulla adsurgentibus hydris 185 
terrebit ; quin ipse avidae trux navita cumbae 
interius steriles ripas et adusta subibit 
litora, ne puero dura ascendisse facultas. 

Quid mihi gaudenti proles Cyllenia virga 189 

nuntiat ? estne aliquid tarn saevo in tempore laetum ? 
noverat effigies generosique ardua Blaesi 
ora puer, dum saepe domi nova serta ligantem 
te videt et similes tergentem pectore ceras. 
hune ubi Lethaei lustrantem gurgitis oras 
Ausonios inter proceres seriemque Quirini 195 

adgnovit, timide primum vestigia iungit 
accessu tacito summosque lacessit amictus, 
inde magis sequitur ; neque enim magis ille 

spernit et ignota credit de stirpe nepotum. 
mox ubi delicias et rari pignus amici 200 

sensit et amissi puerum solacia Blaesi, 
tollit humo magnaque ligat cervice diuque 

^ aevoque Gulielmiis : ac voce J/. 
^ ignis Koestlin : anguis M. 

" See Theb. vi. 54 sqq. 

^ i.e., no Fury. The Furies, often called by Statins " the 
Sisters," are represented with torches and snaky hair. 

" Mercurj', who conducted the souls of the dead to the 


SILVAE, II. I. 177-202 

across the Mulvian bridge, while an innocent eliild is 
given over to the angry ilames, and both by his age 
and by his beauty wins their tears. Such was 
Palaemon, v,'hen his mother flung herself on him 
as he lay ship^vTecked and cast up from the sea in 
the Isthmian haven ; such too Opheltes, whom the 
serpent tore as he played in the snake-haunted grass 
of Lerna, when the greedy fire consumed him." 

But lay aside thy fears, and be no more in dread 
of threatening Death : Cerberus with triple jaws will 
not bark at him, no Sister ** will terrify him with flames 
and towering hydras ; nay, even the grim sailor of 
the greedy boat will draw nearer to the barren shores 
and fire-scorched bank, that the boy's embarking may 
be easy. 

What message brings the son of Cyllene," waving 
a glad wand ? Can there be aught of joy in so 
terrible a time ? Well did the lad know the likeness 
and lofty countenance of noble Blaesus, for often 
had he seen thee at home twining fresli garlands 
and pressing that image to thy breast. And when 
he recognized him among the Ausonian nobles and 
the lineage of Quirinus pacing the shores of Lethe's 
stream, he silently drew near and first walked beside 
him timidly and plucked at his garment's edge, then 
followed him more boldly, for as he more boldly 
plucked the other spurned him not, but thought him 
an unknown scion of his house. Soon when he knew 
that the boy was the darling and favourite of a friend 
so rare, the solace for his lost Blaesus,'^ he raised him 
from the ground and fastened him about his mighty 

^ The points seems to be that the boy himself was 
"blaesus," i.e. "stammering," being still under 12, and was 
so a consolation to Melior for his friend Blaesus. 


ST ATI us 

ipse manu gaudens vehit et, quae munera mollis 
Elysii, steriles ramos niutasque volucres 
porgit et obtunso pallentes genuine flores. 205 

nee prohibet nieminisse tui, sed pectora blandus 
roiscet et alternum pueri parti tur amorem. 

Hie finis rapto. quin tu iam vulnera sedas 
et tollis mersum luctu caput ? omnia functa 
aut moritura vides : obeunt noctesque diesque 210 
astraque, nee solidis prodest sua machina terris. 
nam populus mortale genus plebisque caducae 
quis fleat interitus ? lios bella, hos aequora poscunt ; 
his amor exitio, furor his et saeva cupido, 
ut sileam morbos ; hos ora rigentia Brumae, 215 

illos implacido letalis Sirius igni, 
hos manet imbrifero pallens Autumnus hiatu. 
quicquid init ortus, finem timet, ibimus omnes, 
ibimus : immensis urnam quatit Aeacus umbris. 
ast hie, quem gemimus, felix hominesque deosque 
et dubios casus et caecae lubrica vitae 221 

efFugit, immunis fatis. non ille rogavit, 
non timuit meruitve^ mori : nos anxia plebes, 
nos miseri, quibus unde dies suprema, quis aevi 
exitus, incertum, quibus instet fulmen ab astris, 225 
quae nubes fatale sonet. nil flecteris istis ? 
sed flectere libens. ades hue emissus ab atro 
limine, cui soli cuncta impetrare facultas, 
Glaucia^ — insontes animas nee portitor arcet 
nee durae comes ille ferae — : tu pectora mulce, 230 

^ meruitve M : renuit\e Heinsiiis. 

^ Glaucia M : Glaucia si Macnaghten, Glaucia nam 5". 

" Slater suggests that " comes " = Cerberus, and "ferae" 
= Hydra, as in Virg. Aen.xi. 287; Vollmer makes Cerberus 
the beast, and the comrade a figure found on a wall-painting 
by the side of Cerberus, and described Lucan, Phars. vi. 702 ; 
cf. Sil. It. Pun. xiii. 587. 


SILVAE, II. I. 203-230 

shoulders, and a long while carried him rejoicing 
upon his arm, and offered him such gifts as kindly 
Elysium bears, sterile boughs and songless birds and 
pale flowers with bruised blossoms. Nor does he 
forbid him to remember thee, but fondly blends heart 
with heart, and takes part in turn in the affection of 
the lad. 

It is the end : he is lost to thee. Wilt thou not 
now assuage thy pain and lift thy grief-sunken head ? 
All that thou seest is dead or doomed to die ; nights 
and days perish, and the stars, nor does the frame 
of the solid earth avail her. Our race is of mortal 
kind, and who should bewail the passing of folk 
whose end is sure ? War claims some, the ocean 
others ; some are victims of love, of madness, or fell 
desire ; these winter's freezing breath awaits, those 
the fierce heat of deadly Sirius, others pale Autumn 
with rain-bringing j aws . All that hath had beginning 
fears its end. Doomed are we all, ay, doomed : for 
shades innumerable doth Aeacus shake his urn. But 
he whom we mourn is happy : gods and men hath 
he escaped, and doubtful chance and the dangers of 
our dark life : he is beyond the will of Fate. He 
prayed not, nor feared nor deserved to die ; but we, 
poor anxious creatures, miserable folk, we know not 
whence our death shall come, what our life's end 
shall be, from what quarter the thunderbolt threatens, 
what cloud utters the sound of doom. Do these 
thoughts not move thee ? But thou shalt be moved, 
and willingly. Come hither, Glaucias, who alone 
canst obtain all thou dost ask ; leave that dark 
threshold, for neither the ferryman nor the comrade 
of the cruel beast '^ bars the way to innocent souls ; 



tu prohibe nianare genas noctesque beatas 
dulcibus alloquiis et vivis vultibus imple, 
et periisse nega, desolatamque sororem, 
qui potes, et misei'os perge insinuare parentes. 



Est intex- notos Sirenum nomine muros 
saxaque Tyrrhenae templis onerata Minervae 
celsa Dicarchei speculatrix villa profundi, 
qua Bromio dilectus ager, collesque per altos 
uritur et prelis non invidet uva Falernis. 5 

hue me post patrii laetum quinquennia lustri, 
cum stadio iam pigra quies canusque sederet 
pulvis ad Ambracias conversa gymnade frondes, 
trans gentile fretum placidi facundia Polli 
detulit et nitidae iuvenilis gratia Pollae, 10 

" The name of Surrentum was locally derived from that 
of the Sirens, probably through the fact that Parthenope, 
the old man of Naples, was also the name of one of the 
Sirens themselves ; the islands to the south of the promontory 
are called ZnpT^vovffcrai as early as Eratosthenes. The 
southernmost headland bore the name and temple of Minerva ; 
Tyrrhene, perhaps from the " mare Tyrrhenum," perhaps 
from a tradition of Etruscan power {cf. Steph. Byz. 'ZvpivTiov 
TToXis Tvpprji'las), Minerva herself being originally Etruscan. 
"The Dicarchean deep " is the bay of Naples, from Dicarchus 
or Dicarcheus, founder of Puteoli. 

* The four-yearly fe>)tival of the Augustalia at Naples, 
instituted in a.d. 2 ; it consisted of musical and gymnastic 
contests. The Actian (" Ambracian " 1. 8) games came a little 
later, beginning on September 2. 


SILVAE, II, I. 231—11. 10 

soothe thou his heart and forbid his tears to flow ; 
make liis nights glad with thy sweet converse and 
thy hving countenance. Tell him thou art not dead, 
and hasten to commend to him — for thou canst — thy 
unhappy parents and thy sister left fox-lorn. 


The rjeneral arrangement of the poem follows the lines of 
I. 3 ; there is a description of tlie villa and its surroundings, 
followed by praise of its master, Pollius, and, in this case, 
of his wife Polla as well. Pollivs Felix was a wealthy 
patron of Statius. The position of the villa can be deter- 
mined with some degree of certainty as having been on the 
coast between the Capo di Sorrento and tlie Capo di Massa, 
on the heights of the Punta della Calcarella ; just to the 
south the Marina di Puolo still preserves the name of Pollius, 
and must be the " unum litus " of II. 15, 16 ; the temples of 
Neptune and Hercules lay somewhere below the villa. Con- 
siderable remains of Roman masonry still exist. 

The building of the Temple of Hercules is described in 
Silv. iii. 1. 

Between the walls that are known by the Sirens' 
name and the cliff that is burdened by the shrine of 
Etruscan Minerva a lofty villa stands and gazes out 
upon the Dicarchean deep ; '^ there the ground is 
beloved of Bromius, and the grapes ripen on the high 
hills nor envy the Falernian wine-pressess. Hither 
was I glad to come after the four-yearly festival ^ 
of my home, — when at last deep quiet had fallen 
and the dust lay white upon the course, and the 
athletes had turned them to Ambracian garlands, — • 
drawn by the eloquence of gentle Pollius and bright 
Folia's girlish charm to cross my native strait : 


ST ATI us 

flectere iam cupidum gressus, qua limite noto 
Appia longarum teritur regina viarum. 

Sed iuvere niorae. placido lunata recessu 
hinc atque hinc cui'vas perrunipunt aequora rupes. 
dat natura locum montique intervenit unum^ 15 

litus et in terras scopulis pendentibus exit, 
gratia prima loci, gemina testudine fumant 
balnea, et e terris occurrit dulcis amaro 
nympha mari. levis hie Phorci chorus udaque crines 
Cymodoce viridisque cupit Galatea lavari. 20 

ante domum tumidae moderator caerulus undae 
excubat, innocui custos laris ; huius amico 
spumant templa salo. felicia rura tuetur 
Alcides ; gaudet gemino sub numine portus : 
hie servat terras, hie saevis fluctibus obstat. 25 

mira quies pelagi : ponunt hie lassa furorem 
aequora, et insani spirant clementius austri, 
hie praeceps minus audet hiems, nulloque tumultu 
stagna modesta iacent dominique imitantia mores. 

Inde per obliquas erepit porticus arces, 30 

urbis opus, longoque domat saxa aspera dorso. 
qua prius obseuro permixti pulvere soles 
et feritas inamoena viae, nunc ire voluptas : 
qualis, si subeas Ephyres Baccheidos altum 
culmen, ab Inoo fert semita tecta Lechaeo.^ 35 

1 unum M (Kroltn ; cf. Suet. Tib. 40): uduni, inium, 
uncum edd. 

^ Lechaeo T>om. : lyceo 3/: Lyaeo S~. 

" Old name of Corinth ; the epithet appears to allude to 
the Bacchiadae, ancient rulers of Corinth. 

*" Lechaeum was the port of Corinth on the Corinthian 
gulf, associated with the worship of I no and Palaemon 


SILVAE, II. II. 11 35 

tJiough already fain to direct my steps where runs 
the worn and well-known track of Appia, queen of 
the long roads. 

Yet the time I spent delighted me. The crescent 
waters of a tranquil bay break through the curving 
line of cliff on either hand. The spot is of Nature's 
giving : one single beach lies between sea and hill, 
ending towards the land in overhanging rocks. The 
first charm of the place is a smoking bath-house with 
two cupolas, and a stream of fresh water from the 
land meeting the salt brine. Here would the nimble 
choir of Phorcus wish to bathe, and Cymodoce with 
dripping tresses and sea-green Galatea. Before the 
building the dark-blue ruler of the swelling waves 
keeps watch, and guards that innocent home ; his 
shrine is it that is wet with friendly spray. Alcides 
protects the happy fields ; in the two deities does 
the haven rejoice : one guards the land, the other 
resists the angry billows. A wondrous peace is on 
the sea : here the Aveary waves rage no more, and 
the furious South wind blows more mildly ; here the 
swift hurricane is less daring, and the pools lie 
tranquil and undisturbed, calm as the spirit of their 

Thence a colonnade climbs slantwise up the cliff, 
vast as a city, and its long line of roof gains mastery 
over the rugged rocks. Where the sun once shone 
through clouds of dust, and the way was wild and 
unlovely, now it is a pleasure to go. Even such, 
should you scale the lofty height of Bacchic Ephyre,'* 
is the covered way that leads from Lechaeum, of 
Ino's fame.** 

(Melicertes), whence came the Isthmian games ; cf. Theh. 
ii. 381. 

VOL. I H 97 

ST ATI us 

Non, mihi si cunctos Helicon indulgeat amnes 
et superet Pimplea sitim largeque volantis 
iingula sedet equi reseretque arcana pudicos 
Phemonoe fontes vel quos meus auspice Phoebo 
altius immersa turbavit Pollius urna, 40 

innumeras valeam species cultusque locorum 
Pieriis aequare modis. vix ordine longo 
sufFecere oculi, vix, dum per singula ducor, 
suffecere gradus. quae reruni turba ! locine 44 

ingenium an domini niirer prius ? haec domus ortus 
aspicit et Phoebi tenerum iubar ; ilia cadentem 
detinet exactamque negat diniittere lucem, 
cum iam fessa dies et in aequora mentis opaci 
umbra cadit vitreoque natant praetoria ponto. 
haec pelagi clamore fremunt, haec tecta sonoros 50 
ignorant fluctus terraeque silentia malunt. 
liis favit natura locis, hie victa colenti 
cessit et ignotos docilis mansue\'it in usus. 
mons erat hie, ubi plana vides ; et lustra fuerunt, 
quae nunc tecta subis ; ubi nunc nemora ardua cernis, 
hie nee terra fuit : domuit possessor, et ilium 56 

formantem rupes expugnantemque secuta 
gaudet humus, nunc cerne iugum discentia saxa 
intrantesque domos iussumque recedere montem. 
iam Methymnaei vatis manus et chelys una 60 

Thebais et Getici cedat tibi gloria plectri : 
et tu saxa moves, et te nemora alta sequuntur. 

" i.e., the fountain Hippocrene struck forth by the hoof of 
Pergasus, cf. ii. 7. 4. 

*" Daughter of Apollo, and, according to Strabo, the first 
Pjthian priestess. Her " pure " springs are those of Castalia 
(" castus "), and " arcana " may be meant as an etymologizing 
of " Phemonoe," " she who speaks forth hidden thoughts." 

" Arion, Amphion, Orpheus. 


SILVAE, II. II. 3G-62 

Not if Helicon were to grant me all her streams, 
or Pimplea quench my thirst, or the hoof of the 
flying steed " abundantly assuage it : not if mystic 
Phemonoe ^ were to unlock her pure springs or those 
wherein my Pollius, under the auspices of Phoebus , hath 
plunged his deep-immersed urn — not even so could 
I equal in Pierian strains the countless charms and 
beauties of the place. Scarcely could my eyes sus- 
tain the long array, scarce could my feet avail, while 
I was led from scene to scene. What a multitude 
of things ! Shall I first admire the genius of the 
place or of its master ? This part of the house looks 
eastward to Phoebus' morning rays ; that part de- 
tains him as he sets, nor allows the exhausted light 
to disappear, when the day is wearied out and the 
shadow of the dark mountain falls on the waters, 
and the proud mansion floats upon the glassy flood. 
Here the sound of the sea is in the chambers, here 
they know not the roaring of the waves, but prefer 
the silence of the land. Here are spots that Nature 
has favoured, here she has been outdone and given 
way to the settler and learnt gentleness in ways 
unknown before. Here, where you now see level 
ground, was a hill ; the halls you enter were wild 
country ; where now tall groves appear, there was 
once not even soil : its owner has tamed the place, 
and as he shaped and conquered the rocks the 
earth gladly gave way before him. See how the 
cliff learns to bear the yoke, how the dwellings force 
tlieir entry and the mountain is bidden withdraw. 
Now let the skill of Methymne's bard and that sole 
Theban lyre and the glory of the Getic quill *= give 
way before thee : thou too dost move the rocks, thee 
too the high woods follow. 



Quid referam veteres ceraeque aerisque figuras, 
si quid Apellei gaudent animasse colores, 
si quid adhuc vacua, tamen admirabile, Pisa 65 

Phidiacae rasere manus, quod ab arte Myronis 
aut Polycliteo iussum est quod vivere caelo, 
aeraque ab Isthniiacis auro potiora favillis, 
era ducum ac vatum sapientumque ora priorum, 
quos tibi cura sequi, quos toto pectore sentis, 70 

expers curarum atque animum virtute quieta 
compositus semperque tuus ? quid mille revolvam 
culmina visendique vices ? sua cuique voluptas 
atque omni proprium thalamo mare, transque 

Nerea diversis servit sua terra fenestris : 75 

haec videt Inarimen, illinc Prochyta aspera paret ; 
armiger hac magni patet Hectoris, inde malignum 
aera respirat pelago circumflua Nesis ; 
inde vagis omen felix Euploea carinis 
quaeque ferit curves exserta Megalia fluctus, 80 

angitur et domino contra recubante proculque 
Surrentina tuus spectat praetoria Limon. 
una tamen cunctis, procul eminet una diaetis, 
quae tibi Parthenopen derecto limite ponti 
ingerit : hie Grais penitus delecta metallis 85 

saxa ; quod Eoae respergit vena Syenes, 
Synnade quod maesta Phrygiae fodere secures 
per Cybeles lugentis agros, ubi marmore picto 
Candida purpureo distinguitur area gyro ; 
hie et Amyclaei caesum de monte Lycurgi 90 

" i.e., before the statue of Olympian Zeus was there. 

'' Statues supposed to have been cast from the masses 
of molten bronze found in Corinth after its burning : see 
Petronius, 50 ; Plinj% N.II. xxxiv. 5. 

" The cape called after Misenus. 

■* Because the name (EuTrXota) means " happy voyaging." 

SILVAE, II. II. G3-90 

Why should I tell of ancient forms in wax or 
bronze, or of aught that the colours of Apelles re- 
joiced to animate, or the hand of Phidias carved, 
though Pisa still was empty," yet wondrously withal, 
or what was bidden live by Myron's art or Polycletus' 
chisel, the bronzes, from the funeral fire of Corinth,'' 
more precious than gold, countenances of chieftains 
and prophets and sages of old time, whom it is thy 
care to follow, whose influence tliou dost feel in all 
thy being, untroubled and steadfast in thy tranquil 
virtue, and ever lord of thy own heart ? Why should 
I recount the numberless summits and the changing 
views ? Each chamber has its oAvn deliglit, its own 
particular sea, and across the expanse of Nereus each 
window commands a different landscape : this one 
beholds Inarime, from that rugged Prochyta is seen ; 
here the squire of mighty Hector " is outspread, 
there sea-girt Nesis breathes tainted air ; yonder is 
Euploea, good omen for wandering barks,'^ and 
Megalia flung out to repel the curving billows ; and 
thy own Limon grieves that his lord reclines there 
over against him, and gazes at thy Surrentine mansion 
from afar. Yet one room there is, one higher than 
all the rest, which over a straight track of sea brings 
Parthenope to thy sight : here are marbles chosen 
from the heart of Grecian quarries ; ^ the stone of 
Eastern Syene, splashed with veining, and that 
which Phrygian axes hew in mournful Synnas o'er 
the fields of wailing Cybele,^ whereon the white ex- 
panse is bordered by a rim of purple ; here too are 
green blocks quarried from the hill of Lycurgus at 

* See note on i. 2. 148. 

^ The Phrygian worship of Cybele, who wails for Attis, 
her votary (c/. i. 5. 38), is here referred to. 



quod viret et molles imitatur rupibus herbas, 
hie Nomadum lucent flaventia saxa Thasosque 
et Cliios et gaudens fluctus spectare Carystos : 
omnia Chalcidicas turres obversa salutant. 
macte animo, quod Graia probas, quod Graia^ 

frequentas 95 

ai'va ; nee invideant quae te genuere Diearehi 
moenia ! nos docto melius potiemur alumno. 

Quid nune ruris opes pontoque novalia dicam 
iniecta et madidas Baecheo nectare rupes ? 
saepe per autumnum lam pubescente Lyaeo 100 

conseendit scopulos noctisque oeculta sub umbra 
palmite maturo rorantia lumina tersit 
Nereis et dulces rapuit de collibus uvas. 
saepe et vicino sparsa est vindemia fluctu, 
et Satyri cecidere vadis, nudamque per undas 105 
Dorida montani cupierunt prendere Panes. 

Sis felix, tellus, dominis ambobus in annos 
Mygdonii Pyliique senis nee nobile mutes 
servitium, nee te eultu Tirynthia vincat 
aula Dicareheique sinus, nee saepius isti 110 

blanda Therapnaei plaeent^ vineta Galaesi. 
hie ubi Pierias exercet Pollius artes, 
seu volvit monitus, quos dat Gargettius auctor, 

^ Graia . Graia Gevart : grata . grata M. 
^ isti . . placent M : istis . . placeant S". 

" Either because of the similarity of colour, or, according 
to PhilUmore (quoted by Slater), because the view recalls 
tiiat from the Carj'stian quarries. 

*" Cumae, a colony of Chalcis in Euboea, was very near 
to Naples; " Chalcidian " can therefore = " Neapolitan." 
"Diearehi moenia " = Puteoli. 

' Statins congratulates Pollius on his love of Greek 
marbles, Greek learning {cf. 1. 113), and Greek dwelling- 


SILVAE, II. II. 91-113 

Amyclae, where the stone counterfeits the grass ; 
here gleam the tawny rocks from Numidia, Thasian 
marble too and Chian, and Carystian stone that joys 
to behold the waves : " all turn to salute the Chal- 
cidian towers .'' A blessing on thy heart, that thou 
approvest what is Greek and hauntest Grecian land ; 
nor let the city of Dicarchus that gave thee birth 
feel envy ! We shall prove better owners of our 
poet- ward." 

Why should I rehearse the wealth of the country- 
side, the fallows flung out into the sea and the cliffs 
steeped in Bacchus' nectar ? Often in autumn-time 
when the grapes are ripening a Nereid climbs the 
rocks, and under cover of the shades of night brushes 
the sea-water from her eyes with a leafy vine-spray, 
and snatches sweet clusters from the hills. Often is 
the vintage sprinkled by the neighbouring foam ; 
Satyrs plunge into the water, and Pan-gods from 
the mountain are fain to grasp the sea-nymph as 
she flies naked through the waves. 

Bless with prosperity, O land, thy lord and lady 
both, unto the years of a Nestor or a Tithonus, nor 
ever change thy noble servitude ! Let not the 
Tirynthian hall and Dicarchus' bay outdo thee as a 
home,*^ nor thy lords too often gladden the wistful 
vineyards of Laconian Galaesus. Here where Pollius 
plies his Pierian craft, whether he ponders the 

places (Naples and its surroundings). "We," i.e. we of 
Naples, as opposed to Puteoli. 

"* Pollius seems to have possessed a house at Bauli near 
Puteoli (cf. note on 1. 94), and also near Tarentum. The latter 
is represented as " coaxing " ("blanda") him to come and 
spend his time there, and jealous (hence " placent ") if he does 
not. Therapnaean, because Therapnae is in Laconia, and 
Tarentum was a Spartan colony. 



seu nostram quatit ille chelyn seu dissona nectit 
carniina sive niinax ultorem stringit iambon : 115 

hinc levis e scopulis meliora ad carmina Siren 
advolat, hinc motis audit Tritonia cristis. 
tunc rapidi ponunt flatus, maria ipsa vetantur 
obstrepere, emergunt pelago doctamque trahuntur 
ad clielyn et blandi scopulis delphines aderrant. 120 

Vive, Midae gazis et Lydo ditior auro, 
Troica et Euphratae supra diademata felix, 
quern non anibigui fasces, non mobile vulgus, 
non leges, non castra terent, qui pectore magno 
spemque metumque domas voto^ subliniior onini, 125 
exemptus fatis indignantemque refellens 
Fortunam ; dubio queni non in turbine rerum 
deprendet suprema dies, sed abire paratum 
ac plenum vita, nos, vilis turba, caducis 
deservire bonis semperque optare parati, 130 

spargimur in casus : celsa tu mentis ab arce 
despicis errantes humanaque gaudia rides, 
tempus erat, cum te geminae suffragia terrae 
diriperent celsusque duas veherere per urbes, 
inde Dicarcheis multum venerande colonis, 135 

hinc adscite meis, pariterque his largus et illis 
ac iuvenile calens plectrique errore superbus. 
at nunc discussa rerum caligine verum 
aspicis — illo alii rursus iactantur in alto — , 
et tua secures portus placidamque quietem 140 

intravit non quassa ratis. sic perge nee umquam 
^ voto Waller : tuto M: vitio, motu, titulo edd. 

" Pollius, like Vopiscus, was an Epicurean : this, how- 
ever, may not mean more than that he enjoyed a cuUured 
leisure, and avoided pubhc life. 

* i.e., writes epic or elegiac verse. 

" Of Croesus. "^ Of the Persian kings. 


SILVAE, 11. II. 114-141 

Gargettian teacher's counsels,'* or strikes my own lyre, 
or reunites unequal strains,* or draws the threatening 
sword of avenging satire : the nimble Siren speeds 
from these rocks to sweeter lays than hers, and here 
Tritonia lifts her head and listens. Then the Avild 
winds abate, the seas themselves are forbidden to 
rage ; the dolphins emerge from the deep, and drawn 
to the music of his harp float gently by the cliffs. 

Long mayst thou live, enriched beyond Midas' 
wealth and Lydian '^ gold, blest" above the diadems 
of Euphrates '^ and of Troy ; whom neither fickle 
power nor the shifting mob, nor laws nor camps can 
vex, whose great heart, raised sublime over all desire, 
doth quell hope and fear, who art beyond the will of 
Fate and dost baffle the enmity of P'ortune ; thee the 
last day shall find, not bewildered in the maze of 
things, but sated with life and ready to depart. 
But we, a worthless folk, slaves at the beck of transient 
blessings and wishes ever new, are tossed from chance 
to chance : thou from thy mind's high citadel dost 
look down upon our wanderings and laughest at 
human joys. There was a time when the loyalty of 
two lands tore thee in twain, and thou wert borne 
in triumph through two cities, there worshipped, as 
is meet, by Dicarchus' folk, here made their own by 
mine, and bountiful alike to these and those, in the 
full fire of youth and proud of thy wandering Muse.* 
But now are the mists dispersed, and thou dost 
behold the truth — others in their turn are tossed 
upon that sea — and thy unshaken bark has entered 
a peaceful haven and a quiet resting-place. Con- 

* The phrase refers either to the varied poetical achieve- 
ments of Pollius, or Ills travelling to different cities for the 
purpose of recitation, perhaps at various festivals. 



emeritam in nostras puppem dimitte procellas. 142 
tuque, nurus inter longe praedocta Latinas 147 

parque viro mentem, cui non^ praecordia curae, 
non frontem vertere^ minae, sed Candida semper 
gaudia et in vultu curarum ignara voluptas ; 
non tibi sepositas infelix strangulat area 150 

divitias avidique animum dispendia torquent 
fenoris : expositi census et docta fruendi 
temperies. non ulla deo meliore cohaerent 
pectora, non alias docuit^ Concordia mentes. 154 

discite securi, quorum de pectore mixtae 143 

in longum coiere faces sanctusque pudicae 
servat amicitiae leges amor, ite per annos 
saeculaque et priscae titulos praecedite famae. 146 


Stat, quae perspicuas nitidi Melioris opacet 
arbor aquas complexa lacus, quae robore ab imo 
incurvata vadis redit inde cacumine recto 
ardua, ceu mediis iterum nascatur ab undis 
atque habitet vitreum tacitis radicibus amnem. 5 

^ praedocta . . . cui non IF. R. Hardie, C.R. xviii. p. 

■^ vertere Pol. {from P) : vescere M. 

* docuit M : decuit 5". 
1 0(1 

SILVAE, II. 11. 142— III. 5 

tinue thus, nor ever loose thy vessel, her voyage 
over, to face our storms. And thou, who in wisdom 
dost surpass the daughters of Latiura and in mind 
art equal to thy lord, whose spirit no cares, whose 
brow no menace has dismayed, but who art ever 
bright and happy, while joy untroubled reigns in thy 
countenance : — for thee no churlish money-chest 
keeps tight grip of hoarded wealth, no waste of greedy 
usury tortures thy heart, but open to all are thy 
riches, and thou dost enjoy them in wise restraint. 
No union of souls is more blest, such are the minds 
that Concord has taught. Learn of her in untroul^led 
peace, ye from whose hearts the blending fires are 
met in a long union, and wliose hallowed love keeps 
fast the laws of chaste affection. Go onward through 
the years, and outdo the centuries of old and the 
title-roll of ancient fame. 


Atedius Melior, another of StatUis's rich patrons, had a 
plane-tree in his (/rounds that grew beside a pool, with a 
trunk that bent over and down towards the water, and then 
straightening itself grew upwards again ; Statius's poem is 
a kind of Alexandrian alVtoj', giving the cause of the phenom- 
enon, and reminds one also of an Ovidian Metamorphosis. 
It was sent to Melior as a birthday gift. 

Enfolding with its overshadowing boughs the clear 
waters of my elegant Melior's lake there stands a 
tree, whose trunk, curving from its base, bends down 
toward the mere, and then shoots up aloft straiglit 
to its summit, as though it grew a second time from 
the midst of the waves, and dwelt with hidden roots 
in the glassy stream. Why ask so slight a tale of 



quid Phoebum tarn parva rogem ? vos dicite causas, 
Naides, et faciles, satis est, date carmina Fauni. 

Nynipharum tenerae fugiebant Pana catervae ; 
ille quidem it, eunctas tamquani velit, et tamen^ unam 
in Pholoen. silvis haec^ fluminibusque sequentis 10 
nunc liirtos gressus, nunc improba cornua vitat. 
iamque et belligerum lani nemus atraque Caci 
rura Quirinalesque fuga suspensa per agros 
Caelica tesca subit ; ibi demum victa labore, 
fessa metu, qua nunc placidi Melioris aperti 15 

stant sine fraude lares, flavos collegit amictus 
artius et niveae^ posuit se margine ripae. 
Insequitur velox pecorum deus et sua credit 
conubia ; ardenti iamiam suspiria librat 
pectore, iam praedae levis imminet. ecce citatos 20 
advertit Diana gradus, dum per iuga septem 
errat Aventinaeque legit vestigia cervae. 
paenituit vidisse deam, conversaque fidas 
ad comites : " numquamne avidis arcebo rapinis 
hoc petulans foedumque pecus, semperque pudici 25 
decrescet mihi turba chori ? " sic deinde locuta 
depromit pharetra telum breve, quod neque flexis 
cornibus aut solito torquet stridore, sed una 
eniisit contenta manu laevamque soporae^ 
Naidos aversa fertur tetigisse sagitta. 30 

ilia diem pariter surgens hostemque protervum 
vidit et in fonteni, niveos ne panderet artus, 

^ et tamen J/ : it tamen S". 

^ haec m Pol. {from P) : et M: sed Krohn. 

' niveae M : viridi Markland : curvae, nitidae ecld. : 
vivae Slater, niveae is certainly doubtful, though he may he 
thinking of flowers. 

* soporae Krohn : soporem M. 

" The precinct of Janus was at the foot of the Capitol, the 

SILVAE, 11. HI. 6-32 

Phoebus ? Do you, O Naiads, relate the cause, and 
you, comphant Fauns — ye will suffice — inspire my 

Frightened troops of Nymphs were fleeing from 
Pan ; on he came, as though all were his quarry, yet 
on Pholoe alone was he bent. By copse and stream 
she fled, shunning now the hairy following limbs, 
now the wanton horns. Through Janus' grove,* 
scene of battles, and Cacus' deadly haunts ; through 
the fields of Quirinus she came running a-tiptoe and 
gained the Caelian wilds ; there at last wearied out 
and fordone with feai- — where to-day stands the 
quiet home of hospitable Melior — she gathered her 
saffron robe closer about her, and sank down on the 
edge of the snow-white bank. Swiftly follows the 
shepherd-god, and deems the maid his bride ; already 
he allays the panting of his fevered breast, already 
he hovers lightly o'er his prey. Lo ! with speedy 
steps Diana approaches, as she ranges the seven hills 
and tracks the flight of a deer on Aventine ; the 
goddess was vexed to see it, and turning to her 
trusty comrades : " Shall I never keep this un- 
seemly, wanton brood from lustful rapine ? Must my 
chaste band of followers ever grow fewer ? " So 
speaking she drew a short shaft from her quiver, but 
sped it not from the bent bow or with the wonted 
twang, but was content to fling it with one hand, and 
touched — so 'tis said — the left hand of the drowsy 
Naiad with the arrow-feathers. She awaking beheld 
at once the day and her wanton foe, and lest she 
should bare her snow-white limbs plunged just as she 
was with all her raiment into the lake, and at the 

den of Cacus on the Aventine, on which hill was a shrine of 


ST ATI us 

sic tota cum veste ruit, stagnisque sub altis 
Pana sequi credens ima latus implicat alga, 
quid faceret subito deceptus praedo ? nee altis 35 
credere corpus aquis hirtae sibi conscius audet 
pellis et a tenero nandi rudis : omnia questus, 
immitem Bromium,-'- stagna invida et invida tela, 
primaevam \'isu platanum, cui longa propago 
innumeraeque manus et iturus in aethera vertex, 40 
deposuit iuxta vivamque adgessit harenam 
optatisque aspergit aquis et talia mandat : 
" vive diu nostri pignus memorabile voti, 
arbor, et haec durae latebrosa cubilia nymphae 
tu saltern declinis ama, preme frondibus undam. 45 
ilia quidem meruit, sed ne, precor, igne superno 
aestuet aut dura feriatur grandine ; tantum 
spargere tu laticem et foliis turbare memento, 
tunc ego teque diu recolam dominamque benignae 
sedis et inlaesa tutabor utramque senecta, 50 

ut Io\is, ut Phoebi frondes, ut discolor umbra 
populus et nostrae stupeant tua germina pinus." 
sic ait. ilia dei veteres animata calores 
uberibus stagnis obliquo pendula trunco 
incubat atque umbris scrutatur amantibus undas. 55 
sperat et amplexus, sed aquarum spiritus arcet 
nee patitur tactus. tandem eluctata sub auras 
libratur fundo rursusque enode cacumen 
ingeniosa levat, veluti descendat in imos 
stirpe lacus alia, iam nee Phoebeia Nais 60 

odit et exclusos invitat gurgite ramos 

Haec tibi parva quidem genitali luce paramus 
^ Bromium M : Brimo Scaliger: Bormum Ellis. 

" Bacchus being the deitj' to whom Pan, together with 
Satyrs and Sileni, owed allegiance and therefore trusted for 
help. * Oak and bay. 


SILVAE, II. HI. 33-62 

bottom of the mere, believing Pan was following, she 
WTapped the weeds about her. What could the 
robber do, so suddenly baffled ? Conscious of his 
shaggy hide, and from childhood untaught to swim, 
he dares not trust himself to the deep waters. Lavish 
complaint made he of heartless Bromius, of the jealous 
lake and jealous shaft ; " then spying a young plane 
tree with long stem and countless branches and 
summit aspiring to heaven he set it by him and 
heaped fresh sand about it and sprinkled it with the 
longed-for waters, and thus commanded it : " Live 
long, O tree, as the memorable token of my vow, 
and do thou at least stoop down and cherish the secret 
abode of this hard-hearted nymph, and cover her 
waters with thy leaves. Let her not, I pray, though 
she has deserved it, be scorched by the sun's lieat or 
lashed by cruel hail ; only mind thou to bestrew the 
pool with thickly scattered leaves. Then will I long 
remember thee and the mistress of this kindly place, 
and guard both to a secure old age, so that the trees 
of Jove and Phoebus, and the twy-coloured poplar 
shade ^ and my own pines may marvel at thy boughs." 
So he spake ; and the tree, quickened with the old 
passion of the god, hangs and broods over the full 
mere with drooping stem, and searches the waves 
with loving shadows, and hopes for their embrace ; 
but the breath of the waters put it from them, and 
suffered not its touch. At length it struggles upward, 
and poised upon its base cunningly hfts its head 
without any knot, as though it sank with another 
root into the bottom of the lake. Now not even the 
Naiad, Phoebe's votary, hates it, but her stream 
invites the boughs she banished. 

Such is the gift I bring thee on thy birthday, 



dona, sed ingenti forsan victura sub aevo. 

tu, cuius placido posuere in pectore sedem 

blandus honos hilarisque tamen cum pondere virtus, 

cui nee pigra quies nee iniqua potentia nee spes 66 

improba, sed medius per honesta et duleia limes, 

ineorrupte fidem nullosque experte tumultus 

et secrete, palam quom^ digeris ordine vitam, 

idem auri faeilis contemptor et optimus idem 70 

comere divitias opibusque immittere lucem : 

hac longum florens animi morumque iuventa 

Iliaeos aequare senes et \incere persta, 

quos pater Elysium, genetrix quos detulit annos : 

hoc illi duras exoravere sorores, 7o 

hoe, quae te sub teste situm fugitura tacentem 

ardua magnanimi revirescet gloria Blaesi. 


Psittace, dux volucrum, domini facunda voluptas, 
humanae sellers imitator, psittace, linguae, 
quis tua tarn subito praeelusit murmura fato ? 
hesternas, miserande, dapes moriturus inisti 
nobiscum, et gratae carpentem munera mensae 5 
errantemque toris mediae plus tempore noetis 
vidimus, adfatus etiam meditataque verba 

^ quom Vollmer : quod 3/: quo Baehrens: qui Dom. 

" The praise of his patron seems to show that MeUor, Hke 
Vopiscus and PolUus. cultivated an elegant leisure. 

SILVAE, II. in. 63— IV, 7 

small indeed, but destined perchance to live through- 
out long ages. Thou in whose tranquil breast dwells 
courteous chgnity and gay, yet thoughtful virtue, 
refusest slothful ease and unjust power and over- 
weening ambition, but takest the mid-path between 
duty and pleasure, thou whose loyalty is unstained, 
whose heart has known no storms, whose life is lived 
apart, yet ordered and planned for all to see, thou 
who readily spurnest gold, yet dost excel in setting 
thy wealth in array and bringing thy riches to the 
light : long mayst thou flourish and live on in youth- 
fulness of mind and heart to rival Priam and Tithonus, 
and to surpass the years that thy mother and thy 
sire took with them to Elysium ; this guerdon 
have they won for thee from the stern Sisters, they 
and the lofty fame of great-hearted Blaesus, which, 
preserved from silent oblivion by thy witness, shall 
floui'ish once again." 


Tliis elegy on Melior's parrot recalls of course OvicVs 
similar poem (Am. ii. 6), while it is also a kind of parody 
of Statius's oivn Epicedia. For talking birds in ancient 
times, Pliny, Nat. Hist. x. 117, is the locus classicus. 

Parrot, prince of birds, glib-tongued favourite of 
thy master, parrot that cleverly dost mimic human 
speech, who has cut short thy chatter by so sudden 
a stroke ? Yesterday, hapless one, thou didst join 
our feast, though doomed to die, and we saw thee 
plucking the dainties of the table and moving from 
couch to couch till after midnight. Greetings also 
and well-conned words hadst thou repeated. But 
VOL. I I 113 


reddideras. at nunc aeterna silentia Lethes 
ille canorus habes. cedat Phaethontia vulgi 
fabula : non soli celebrant sua funera cygni. 10 

At tibi quanta domus rutila testudine fulgens, 
conexusque ebori virgarum argenteus ordo, 
argutumque tuo stridentia limina cornu, 
et, quei-ulae iam sponte, fores ! vacat ille beatus 
career et augusti^ nusquam convicia tecti ! 15 

Hue doctae stipentur aves, quis nobile fandi 
ius Natura dedit : plangat Phoebeius ales 
auditasque memor penitus dimittere voces 
sturnus et Aonio versae certamine picae, 
quique refert iungens iterata vocabula perdix, 20 
et quae Bistonio queritur soror orba cubili : 
ferte simul gemitus cognataque ducite flammis 
funera et hoc cunctae miserandum addiscite carmen : 

" Occidit aeriae celeberrima gloria gentis 
psittacus, ille plagae viridis regnator Eoae ; 25 

quern non gemmata volucris lunonia cauda 
vinceret aspectu, gelidi non Phasidis ales, 
nee quas umenti Numidae rapuere sub austro. 
ille salutator reguni nonienque locutus 
Caesareum et queruH quondam vice functus amici, 30 
nunc conviva levis monstrataque reddere verba 
tarn facilis ! quo tu, Melior dilecte, recluso 
numquam solus eras, at non inglorius umbris 
mittitur : Assyrio cineres adolentur aniomo 
^ augusti M: angusti 5". 

" Because the death-song of swans is referred to in it. 

'' The raven. 

" The maidens who challenged the Muses and were turned 
into magpies. 

•* Philomela, sister-in-law of Tereus, king of Thrace, turned 
into a nightingale ; according to Pliny {loc. cit.) these birds 
could be taught both Latin and Greek. 


SILVAE, II. IV. 8-34 

now that minstrelsy hath Lethe's eternal silence for 
its portion. Let the well-known tale of Phaethon 
give place : 'tis not only swans that sing their 
coming death." 

But how spacious was thy house, how bright its 
gleaming dome ! and the row of silver bars, joined 
with ivory, and the gate that echoed shrill at the 
touch of thy beak, and the doors that to-day speak 
their own complaint ! Empty is that happy cage, 
and silent the chattering of that lordly abode. 

Flock hither all ye scholar fowl, to whom Nature 
has given the noble privilege of speech ; let the bird 
of Phoebus ^ beat his breast, and the starling, that 
repeats by heart the sayings it has heard, and 
magpies transformed in the Aonian contest,^ and the 
partridge, that joins and reiterates the words it 
echoes, and the sister that laments forlorn in her 
Bistonian boAver : <^ mourn all together and bear 
your dead kinsman to the flames, and learn all of 
you this piteous dirge : 

" The parrot, gloiy and renown of all the airy 
tribe, green monarch of the East, is dead : whom 
neither the bird of Juno with jewelled tail, nor the 
fowl of icy Phasis,* nor those whereon the Numidians 
prey beneath the moist southern sky, could surpass 
in beauty. Once he saluted kings and spoke the 
name of Caesar, was now a sympathetic friend, now 
a gay companion of the board, so skilful was he to 
render the w^ords he had been taught ! Never wert 
thou solitary, beloved MeUor, when he was set free. 
But not ingloriously is he sent to the shades : his 
ashes are rich with Assyrian balm, and the frail 

^ See note on i. 6. 77. 


ST ATI us 

et tenues Arabum respirant graniine plumae 35 

Sicaniisque crocis ; senio nee fessus inert! 
scandet odoratos Phoenix felicior ignes." 


Quid tibi nunc strata^ mansuescere profuit ira ? 
quid scelus humanasque animo dediscere caedes 
imperiumque pati et domino parere minori ? 
quid ? quod abire domo rursusque in claustra reverti 
suetus et a capta iam sponte recedere praeda 5 

insertasque manus laxo dimittere morsu ? 
occidis, altarum vastator docte ferarum, 
non grege Massylo curvaque indagine clausus, 
non forniidato supra venabula saltu 
ineitus aut caeco foveae deceptus hiatu, 10 

sed v-ictus fugiente fera. stat cardine aperto 
infelix cavea et clausas circum undique portas 
hoc hcuisse nefas placidi tumuere^ leones, 
turn cunctis cecidere iubae, puduitque relatum 
aspicere, et totas duxere in luniina frontes. 15 

at non te primo fusum novus obruit ictu 
ille pudor : mansere animi, virtusque cadenti 
a media iam morte redit, nee protinus omnes 
terga dedere minae. sicut sibi conscius alti 
vulneris adversum moriens it miles in hostem 20 

^ nunc strata Postgate : monstrata M : constrata S" : 
deposita Clark, loho considers monstrata due to iv. 31 above. 
^ tumuere Baelirens : timuere 3/. 

" The MassyHans were an African tribe, and Uons were 
conventionally associated with Africa. 

** The allusion is not clear to us, though of course it would 
be to a witness of the fight. 


SILVAE, II. IV. 35— V. 20 

feathers breathe incense of Arabia and Sicanian 
saffron ; and he will mount a fragrant pyre, a happier 
Phoenix, free from the weary languor of old age." 


Tame lions are the subject of epigrams by Martial (i. 6, 14, 
22, 48, etc.). For the circumstances of the writing of this 
piece see Preface to this book. 

What now has it availed thee to quell thy rage 
and be tamed, to unlearn crime and human slaughter 
from thy heart, and endure dominion and obey a 
lesser lord ? To have been wont to leave thy cage 
and return again to imprisonment, and of thy own 
will yield up the captured prey, to open thy jaws 
and let go the inserted hand ? Thou art fallen, O 
skilled slayer of tall beasts, not caught within the 
enclosing circle of a Massylian hunting-band,** nor 
flinging thyself with dreaded spring against the spears, 
nor deceived by the hidden yawning of a pit, but 
overcome by a beast that fled thee.* The unlucky 
cage stands open, while behind their barriers all 
around the quiet lions grew wrathful that so great a 
wrong should have been suffered. Then all their 
crests fell, and shame came on them to see the corpse 
brought back, and they drew down all their brows 
upon their eyes. Yet when the first stroke o'erthrew 
thee the unwonted shame o'erwhelmed thee not : 
thy valour remained, and even in the hour of death 
thy brave spirit rallied as thou didst fall, nor did 
all thy fierceness straightway own defeat. Just as 
the dying warrior who knows his wound is mortal yet 
goes against the foe, and lifts his hand to strike, and 



attoUitque manum et ferro labente minatur : 

sic pigei" ille gradu solitoque exutus honoi'e 

firmat hians oculos animamque liostenique requirit. 

Magna tamen subiti tecum solacia leti, 
victe, feres, quod te maesti populusque patresque, 25 
ceu notus caderes tristi gladiator harena, 
ingemuere mori ; magni quod Caesaris ora 
inter tot Scythicas Libycasque, et^ litore Rheni 
et Pharia de gente feras, quas perdere vile est, 
unius amissi tetigit iactura leonis. 30 


Saeve nimis, lacrimis quisquis discrimina ponis 
lugendique modos. miserum est primaeva parenti 
pignora surgentesque — nefas ! — accendere natos ; 
durum et deserti praerepta coniuge partem 
conclamare tori, maesta et lamenta sororum 5 

et fratrum gemitus : alte tamen ac^ procul intrat 
altius in sensus maioraque vulnera \incit 
plaga minor, famulum — quia rerum nomina caeca 
sic miscet Fortuna manu nee pectora novit — , 
sed famulum gemis, Urse, pium, sed amore fideque 

^ et Aldus : in M: ab Baehrens : a Phillimon. 
^ alte tamen ac MarMand : ad te tamen at M: alte et 
tamen at Vollmer: alter Phillimon (alterius next line). 


SILVAE, II. V. 21— VI. 10 

tlireatens even while tlie weapon falls from liis gvasp ; 
so he with laboured step and reft of liis wonted pride 
steadies his eyes as with open mouth he pants for 
breath and for the foe. 

Great solace, nevertheless, shall be thine, poor 
victim, for thy sudden fate, that people and Senate 
mourned in sorrow to see thee die, as though thou 
wert some favourite gladiator fallen on the deadly 
sand ; that amid so many beasts of Scythia and 
Libya, from the banks of Rhine and the tribes of 
Egypt, beasts so cheaply slain, the loss of one lion 
alone drew a tear from mighty Caesar's eye. 


This Epicedion follows the same lines as ii. 1, except that 
the opening is different. Flavins Ursus, we may gather from 
the Preface and this poem, was young and rich, and practised 
at the bar. 

Too cruel thou, whoever thou art, who makest 
distinctions in mourning, and settest bounds to grief ! 
Piteous it is for a parent to burn — ah ! fearful 
thought ! — an infant darling or groA'idng son ; hard 
too is it when a consort is snatched away to call the 
name of the partner of the deserted couch ; sad are 
a sister's tears and a brother's groans : yet deeply 
also, ay deeper far does a stroke less deadly probe 
the feelings, surpassing mightier blows. 'Tis a slave 
— for thus doth Fortune confound with undiscerning 
hand the names of things, nor sees into the heart — 
a slave whom thou dost mourn, but one that was 



has meritum lacrimas, cui niaior stemmate iuncto 1 1 

libertas ex mente fuit. ne comprinie fletus, 

ne pudeat ; rumpat frenos dolor iste diesque/ 

si tarn dura placent — hominem^ gemis — heu mihi ! 

ipse faces — , hominem, Urse, tuum, cui dulce volenti 
servitium, cui triste nihil, qui sponte sibique 16 

imperiosus erat. quisnam haec in funera missos 
castiget luctus ? gemit inter bella peremptum 
Parthus equum, fidosque canes flevere Molossi, 
et volucres habuere rogum cervusque Maronem. 20 
quid, si nee famulus r vidi ipse habitusque notavi 
te tantum cupientis erum ; sed maior in ore 
spiritus et tenero manifesti in sanguine mores, 
optarent multum Graiae cuperentque Latinae 
sic peperisse nurus. non talem Cressa superbum 25 
callida sollicito revoca\it Thesea filo, 
nee Paris Oebahos tahs \isurus amores 
rusticus in\-itas deiecit in aequora pinus, 
non fallo aut cantus adsueta licentia ducit : 
vidi et adhuc video, qualem nee bella canentem 30 
litore \-irgineo Thetis occultavit Achillen, 
nee circum saevi fugientem moenia Phoebi 
Troilon Haemoniae deprendit lancea dextrae. 
qualis eras ! procul en cunctis puerisque virisque 
pulchrior et tantum domino minor ! illius unus 35 
ante decor, quantum praecedit clara minores 
luna faces quantumque alios premit Hesperos ignes. 

^ diesque M : decusque Peyrared : deisque Dom. 
* hominem M : homo enim Macnaghten. 

" As for instance the parrot of ii. 4, or the raven men- 
tioned by Pliny {N.H. x. 122) as being given a fine funeral. 
The stag is that of Silvia {Aen. xii. 475). 

*" Because Oebalus was an ancient king of Sparta. 


SILVAE, II. VI. 11-37 

loyal, one whose faithful affection merited these 
tears, and whose spirit kneM' a freedom that no line 
of ancestry could give. Check not thy weeping, feel 
no shame ; let that day of thy lament know no 
restraining, if the Fates are so cruel — 'tis a man thou 
bewailest, Ursus, — alas ! myself I fan thy sorrow ! — 
a man who was thine own, ready to find service sweet, 
never sullen, eager to give orders to himself. Who 
would curb the grief that bursts forth at such a 
death ? The Parthian laments his steed slain in the 
fight, the Molossians their trusty hounds, even birds 
have had their pyres, and the hind its Maro.'' What 
if he were no real slave ? Myself I saw and marked 
his bearing, how he would have thee only for his 
lord ; but nobler yet was the spirit in his face, and 
breeding showed clear in his youthful blood. Eagerly 
would Grecian and Latin dames desire and pray that 
such a son were theirs. Less comely was proud 
Theseus, when the cunning maid of Crete drew him 
back with her anxious thread, or Paris, when in 
haste to see his Spartan ** bride he launched, a 
shepherd lad, the unwilling pines upon the main. 
'Tis truth I tell, nor does wonted licence sway my 
song : I have seen him, ay, and see him yet, out- 
matching Achilles when Thetis hid him singing of 
wars upon the maiden's strand, or Troilus, Avhen the 
lance from the Haemonian hero's arm '^ caught him 
as he fled round cruel Phoebus' walls. How fair 
thou wert ! lo ! comelier far than all, lads and men 
ahke, and sui*passed only by thy lord ! '^ His glory 
alone exceeded thine, as the bright moon exceeds 
the lesser fires, and as Hesper outshines the other 

« Achilles. 
^ So, with grosser flattery, of Earlnus (ill. 4. 44). 



non tibi femineum vultu decus oraque supra 
mollis honos, quales dubiae post crimina forniae 
de sexu transire iubent, torvoque virilis 40 

gratia ; nee petulans acies blandique severo 
igne oculi, qualis, bellus iam casside, visu^ 
Parthenopaeus erat ; simplexque horrore decoro 
crinis, et obsessae nondum primoque micantes 
flore genae : talem Ledaeo gurgite pubem 45 

educat Eurotas, teneri sic integer aevi 
Elin adit primosque lovi puer adprobat annos. 
nam pudor unde novae menti^ tranquillaque morum 
temperies teneroque animus maturior aevo, 
carmine quo repetisse^ queam ? saepe ille volentem 
castigabat erum studioque altisque iuvabat 51 

consiUis ; tecum tristisque hilarisque nee umquam 
ille suus vultumque tuo sumebat ab ore : 
dignus et Haemonium Pyladen praecedere fama 
Cecropiamque fidem, sed laudum terminus esto, 55 
quem fortuna sinit : non mente fidelior aegra 
speravit tardi reditus Eumaeus Ulixis. 

Quis deus aut quisnam tarn tristia vulnera casus 
eligit ? unde manus Fatis tarn certa nocendi ? 
o quam divitiis censuque exutus opimo 60 

^ bellus iam casside visu Krohn : bellis i. c. v. M : casside 
missa Pol. : demissa casside visu Slater. 

^ novae Skutsch: notae M: menti M2 : mentis M : unde 
notem, ingenuae edd. 

^ repetisse Postdate : potasse M; par esse Saftien : pensasse 
5" etc. 

" i.e., when the boyish beauty is beginning to fade into 
manhood. Others talce " crimina dubiae formae " as " the 
crime that causes ambiguous appearance " (crime, because 
forbidden by Domitian, cf. iii. 4. 73, iv. 3. 13). 


SILVAE, II. VI. 38-00 

stars. No womanly cliarm was in thy countenance, 
no eifeniinate grace upon thy brow, as with those 
whom after the reproach of fading beauty menbid lose 
their sex,'* but an earnest, manly beauty was thine ; 
nor was thy gaze insolent, but thine eye was gentle 
yet stern with fire, Uke Parthenopaeus to behold, when 
now decked in his helm ^ ; simple the ruffled charm 
of thy locks, thy cheeks not covered yet, but bright 
with their first down : such are the lads that Eurotas 
nurtures by Leda's stream, such the boys that in 
the unstained freshness of boyhood go to Elis,'' and 
approve their budding youth to Jove. How indeed 
in song can I trace the growth of modesty in liis 
young mind, of his calm steadiness of character and 
a spirit riper than his years ? Often would he chide 
Ills willing lord, and aid him with deep and zealous 
counsel ; he shared thy joys and sorrows, nor ever 
lived to himself, but guided his looks by thy coun 
tenance ; worthy was he to exceed in fame the 
Haemonian Pylades '^ and the Athenians' loyalty * ; 
but let not his praise o'erstep his fortune : not more 
faithfully did Eumaeus, sick at heart, long for the 
return of tardy Ulysses. 

What god, what chance makes choice of wounds 
so deadly ? whence are the Fates so unerring in 
their power to harm ? Ah ! how much braver, 
Ursus, hadst thou been, stripped of thy wealth and 

*■ Parthenopaeus was one of the Seven against Thebes 
(see Theb. ix. 699), a warrior with the look of a maiden ; the 
name means " maiden-faced." 

" i.e., to the Olympian games. 

"* i.e., Patroclus ( Haemonian =Thessalian), as faithful to 
Achilles as Pylades was to Orestes. 

" Of Theseus to Pirithous (Cecrops, ancient king of 


ST ATI us 

fortior, Urse, fores ! si vel fumante ruina 

ructassent dites Vesuvina incendia Locroe 

seu Pollentinos mersissent flumina saltiis 

seu Lucanus Acir^ seu Thybridis impetus altas 

in dextrum torsisset aquas, paterere serena 65 

fronte deos ; sive alma fidem messesque negasset 

Cretaque C\Teneque et qua tibi cumque beato 

larga redit Fortuna sinu. sed gnara dolorum 

Invidia infelix animi vitalia vidit 

laedendique vias. vitae modo cardine^ adultae 70 

nectere temptabat iuvenum pulcherrimus ille 

cum tribus Eleis unam trieterida lustris. 

attendit torvo tristis Rhamnusia vultu, 

ac primum implevitque toros oculisque nitorem 

addidit ac solito sublimius ora levavit, 75 

heu ! misero letale favens, seseque videndo 

torsit et invidia^ mortemque amplexa iacenti 

iniecit nexu* carpsitque immitis adunca 

ora verenda manu. quinto vix Phosphoros ortu^ 

rorantem sternebat equum : iam litora duri 80 

saeva, Philete, senis, durumque Acheronta videbas, 

quo domini clamate sono ! non saevius atros 

nigrasset planctu genetrix tibi salva^ lacertos, 

nee pater ; et certe qui vidit funera frater 

^ Acir Madvig : ager M. 

* cardine Gronovius : carmen 3/, defended by Ellis, 
J. Ph. 13. 

^ invidia M : invidiam Heinsius : invidit Ellis. 

* nexu Schwartz : nexus J/. 

* quinto . . . ortu Sclirader : quinta . . . hora M. 

* salva Polster : saeva M. 

" i.e., if Ursus's property' at Locri in Bruttium had been 
destroyed by an eruption (not, of course, of Vesuvius). 

* A lustre here is taken for a period of four years, the 


SILVAE, II. VI. 61-84 

goodly fortune ! if in smoking ruin rich Locri had 
belched forth Vesuvian fire,'' or rivers had submerged 
thy Pollentian glades, if Lucanian Acir or impetuous 
Tiber had swung their swollen waters to the right, 
thou hadst endured the will of heaven with unruffled 
brow ; or if bounteous Crete and Cyrene had for- 
sworn thee and denied their harvests, or wherever 
lavish Fortune returns to thee with plenteous bosom. 
But ill-omened Envy, skilled to hurt, saw the vital 
spot and the path of hai-m. Just at the gate of 
full-grown life that most beauteous of youths was 
striving to link three years to three Elean lustres. ** 
With grim frown the stern Rhamnusian '^ gave heed, 
and first she filled out his muscles and set a brilliance 
in his eyes and raised his head higher than of wont ; 
deadly alas ! to the poor lad were her favours : she 
tortured herself with envy at the sight, and clasping 
the sufferer struck death into him by her embrace,'' 
and with hooked, relentless fingers tore that pure 
countenance. Scarce was Phosphor at the fifth rising 
saddling his dewy steed : already, Philetus,'' wert 
thou beholding the bleak shore of heartless Charon 
and heartless Acheron, bewailed how bitterly by thy 
lord ! Not more fiercely would thy mother, liad she 
lived, blackened and bruised her arms for thee in 
lamentation, nor thy father either ; verily thy brother 

interval between the Olympic games ; i.e., the youth was 
between twelve and fifteen, or perhaps the actual fifteenth 
year is meant. " The goddess Nemesis. 

"* " Invidiam mortemque aniplexa " does not seem satis- 
factory ; it is better to keep " invidia " of the mss., making 
it and " videndo " abls, after " torsit," and construe " aniplexa 
{sc. iacentem) iniecit mortem (ei) nexu." 

* Apparently the boy's name ; the word means " be- 



erubuit vinci. sed nee servilis adempto 85 

ignis : odoriferos exhausit flamma Sabaeos 

et Cilieum messes, Phariaeque exempta volucri 

cinnama et Assyrio manantes gramine sucos 

et domini fletus : hos tantum hausere favillae, 

hos bibit usque rogus ; nee quod tibi Setia canos 90 

restinxit cineres, gremio nee lubricus ossa 

quod vallavit onyx, miseris acceptius umbris 

quam gemitus. sed et ipse iuvat^ ? quid terga dolori, 

Urse, damus ? quid damna foves et pectore iniquo 

vulnus anias ? ubi nota i-eis facundia raptis ? 95 

quid caram crucias tarn saevis luctibus umbram ? 

eximius licet ille animi nieritusque doleri : 

solvisti. subit ille pios carpitque quietem 

Elysiam clarosque illic fortasse parentes 

invenit ; aut illi per amoena silentia Lethes 100 

forsan Avernales adludunt undique mixtae 

Naides, obliquoque notat Proserpina vultu. 

pone, precor, questus ; alium tibi Fata Phileton, 

forsan et ipse dabit moresque habitusque decoros 

monstrabit gaudens similemque doeebit amorem.^ 105 

^ iuvat M : iubet, vetat edd. 
^ amorem S~ : amori Mi amari 5". 

" Incense and saffron. * The Phoenix. 


SILVAE, II. VI. 85-105 

who saw thy funeral blushed to be outdone. No 
servile flames were thine : fragrant harvests of Saba 
and Cilicia <» did the fire consume, and cinnamon 
stolen from the Pharian bird,^ and the juices that 
drip from Assyrian herbs — and thy master's tears : 
these only did the ashes drink, those the pyre ceased 
not to consume ; nor was the Setian Avine that 
quenched the hoary ash, nor the smooth onyx that 
guarded his bones more grateful to the hapless shade 
than those tears. Yet can even tears avail him ? 
Why, Ursus, do we surrender to our soitow ? Why 
dost thou cherish thy loss, and perversely love thy 
wound ? Where is that eloquence that prisoners 
dragged to judgement knew ? Why dost tliou vex 
that dear shade by savage shows of grief ? Peerless 
of soul was he and worthy to be mourned : but thou 
hast paid tliat debt, and he is entering the company 
of the blest and enjoys Elysian peace, and perchance 
finds there famous ancestors ; or haply by the 
pleasant silences of Lethe Nymphs of Avernus mingle 
and sport around him, and Proserpine notes him with 
sidelong glance. Mourn then no more, I pray thee ; 
the Fates, and he himself perhaps, will give thee 
another Philetus, and gladly he will show him seemly 
ways and fashions, and teach him a love to match 
his own. 




Lucani proprium diem frequentet, 
quisquis collibus Isthmiae Diones 
docto pectora concitatus oestro 
pendentis bibit ungulae liquorem. 
ipsi, quos penes est honor canendi, 5 

vocalis citharae repertor Areas 
et tu Bassaridum rotator Euhan 
et Paean et Hyantiae sorores, 
laetae purpureas novate vittas, 
crinem comite, candidamque vestem 10 

perfundant hederae recentiores. 
docti largius evagentur amnes, 
et plus Aoniae virete silvae, 
et, si qua patet aut^ diem recepit, 
sertis mollibus expleatur umbra. 15 

centum Thespiacis odora lucis 
stent altaria vietimaeque centum, 
quas Dirce lavat aut alit Cithaeron : 
Lucanum canimus, favete linguis, 
vestra est ista dies, favete, Musae, 20 

dum qui vos geminas tulit per artes, 
et vinctae pede vocis et solutae, 
Romani colitur chori sacerdos. 

^ patet aut m : pater aut L: patera ut M : patulam Mark- 
land : Patareus coni. Verrall. 

" The fountain of Hippocrene caused by the hoof of 
Pegasus, which Statius here places on the Isthmus ; he seems 
to confuse it with Pirene, the spring at Corinth (c/. Tlieb. 
iv. 60). Pirene was also connected with the Pegasus story, 
see Pindar, 01. 13. 60. It is not clear what Dione (Venus) 
has to do with the Isthmus. 


SILVAE, II. vn. 1-23 


Tlie title (Jenetldiacon was usually applied to an ode 
written In honour of a living person. This ode, however. Is 
a commemoration of Lucan after his death, addressed to 
Folia, his wldoio. Into it is Introduced a prophecy of his 
fame spoken by Calliope on the day of his birth. 

Come to Lucan's birthday-feast, all ye who on the 
hills of Isthmian Dione, with hearts fired by poetic 
frenzy, drink of tlie spring that the flying hoof struck 
forth." Ye wlio liave the privilege of song in your 
keeping, Arcadian discoverer of the vocal lyre, and 
thou, Euhan. whirler of thy Bassarids, and Paean 
and the Hyantian Sisters,** joyfully deck yourselves 
anew with purple fillets, make your tresses trim and 
let fresh ivy enwreathe your shining raiment. Flow 
more abundantly, poetic streams, and be more 
brightly green, ye woodlands of Aonia,"^ and if 
anywhere your shade hath opened and taken in the 
sunlight, let soft garlands fill the room. Let a 
hundred fragrant altars stand in the Thespian <* 
groves, and a hundred victims that Dirce laves and 
Cithaeron pastures : 'tis of Lucan we sing, keep holy 
silence ; this is your day, ye Muses, keep silence, 
while he who made you glorious in two arts, in the 
measures of fettered speech and free.'' is honoured as 
the high priest of the Roman choir. 

' Mercury, Bacchus, Apollo, and the Muses. Hyantian 
= Boeotian. 

" Boeotia, I.e. Helicon or Parnassus. 

"^ Thespiae was at the foot of Helicon. 

" Poetry was often described as "fettered," I.e. liound l)y 
the rules of metre, prose as freed from such rules. 

VOL. I K I 'J .9 


Felix — heu niniis ! — et beata tellus, 
quae pronos Hyperionis meatus 25 

summis Oceani vides in undis 
stridoremque rotae cadentis audis, 
quae Tritonidi^ fertiles Athenas 
unetis, Baetica, provocas trapetis : 
Lucanum potes iniputare terris ! 30 

hoc plus quam Senecam dedisse mundo 
aut dulcem genei-asse Gallionem. 
attollat refluos in astra fontes 
Graio nobilior Melete Baetis^ ; 
Baetim, Mantua, provocare noli. 35 

Natum protinus atque humum per ipsam 
primo murmure dulce vagientem 
blando Calliope sinu recepit. 
turn primum posito remissa luctu 
longos Orplieos exuit dolores 4U 

et dixit : " puer o dicate Musis, 
longaevos cito transiture vates, 
non tu flumina nee greges fex*arum 
nee plectro Geticas movebis ornos, 
sed septeni iuga Martiumque Thybiuni 45 

et doctos equites et eloquente 
cantu purpureuni trahes senatuni. 
nocturnas alii Phrygum ruinas 
et tardi reducis vias Ulixis 
et puppem temerariani Minervae, 50 

trita vatibus orbita, sequantur : 
tu carus Latio memorque gentis 
carmen fortior exseris togatum. 
ac primum teneris adhuc in annis 

* Tritonidi Bentley : tritonicle M. 
« Melete Betis M : m&eleb&is L. 


SILVAE, II. VII. 24-54 

Happy land — too happy alas ! — and blest, tliat on 
the verge of Ocean's waves beholdest Hyperion slope 
downward to his setting, and hearest the hiss of 
plunging wheels ; even thou, Baetica, whose dripping 
olive-presses vie with Athens, that is fertile for 
Tritonis : thou canst account mankind in debt to 
thee for Lucan ! « This is more than to have given 
Seneca to the world, or to have borne the sweet- 
tongued Gallio. Let Baetis, more renowned than 
Grecian Meles,^ flow backward and be exalted to 
the stars ; Mantua, dare not to challenge Baetis ! 

Straightway, wliile yet a new-born babe he crawled 
and with earliest accents sweetly whimpered, Calliope 
took him to her loving bosom. Tlien first did she 
lay aside her grief and cease her long lament for 
Orpheus, and said : " O boy, consecrate to poesy, 
soon destined to outmatch the bards of old, thou shalt 
move no rivers or wild lierds or Thracian ash-trees 
with thy music, but with eloquent song shalt draw 
after thee the seven hills and Martian Tiber and the 
learned knights and purple Senate. Let others follow 
the tracks that poets' wheels have worn, the night 
of Phrygia's overthrow, Ulysses' slow returning path, 
Minerva's daring vessel : '^ thou, dear to Latium and 
mindful of thy race, more boldly dost unsheathe a 
Roman epic. And first, while in tender youth, thou 

" Lucan was born at Corduba, as was also the philosopher 
Seneca, his uncle, (jallio was a rhetorician, brother of the 
younger Seneca, and the adopted son of Junius Gallio. 

* The river near Homer's birthplace, Smyrna ; hence he 
is sometimes called Melesigenes. I.iican was born at Corduba 
in Baetica. "Tritonis "= Pallas. 

' i.e. Iliad, Odyssey, Argonaut ica. 


ludes^ Hectora Thessalosque currus 55 

et supplex Priami potentis aurum, 

et sedes reserabis inferorum, 

ingratus Nero dulcibus theatris 

et noster tibi proferetur Orpheus. 

dices culminibus Remi vagantis 60 

infandos domini nocentis ignes. 

hinc castae titulum decusque Pollae- 

iocunda dabis adlocutione. 

mox coepta generosior iuventa 

albos ossibus Italis Philippos 65 

et Pharsalica bella detonabis, 

convulsum^ ducis inter arma divi, 

libertate gravem pia Catonem 

et gratum popularitate Magnum. 

tu Pelusiaci scelus Canopi 70 

deflebis pius et Pharo eruenta 

Pompeio dabis altius sepulcrum. 

haec primo iuvenis canes sub aevo, 

ante annos Culicis Maroniani. 

cedet Musa rudis ferocis Enni 75 

et docti furor arduus Lucreti, 

et qui per freta duxit Argonautas, 

et qui corpora prima transfigurat. 

quid maius loquar ? ipsa te Latinis 

Aeneis venerabitur canentem. 80 

nee solum dabo carminum nitorem, 

1 ludes L : laudes Ml : laudas m. 

^ convulsum Sinter : quo fulmen LM, et Dom., quod 

" The works of I.ucan here alluded to are (i.) The Tale of 
Troy, (ii.) A Catachthonion, or Journey to the Underworld, 
(iii.) A Praise of Nero, (iv.) The Story of Orpheus, (v.) a de- 


SILVAE, II. VII. 5n-8\ 

shalt practise thy pen " on Hector and the cliariots of 
Thessaly and king Priam's suppliant gold, and shalt 
unlock the abodes of hell ; ungrateful Nero and my 
own Orpheus shall be set forth by thee to favouring 
theatres. Thou shalt tell how the impious fires of 
the guilty monarch ranged the heights of llenuis. 
Then by a charming address thou shalt bestow fame 
and glory upon chaste Polla. Thereafter more gen- 
erous in ripened manhood thou shalt thunderously 
rehearse Phihppi, white with Italian bones, and 
Pharsalian wars, and Cato, grave champion of Free- 
dom, blasted amidst the arms of the divine chief,'' 
and Magnus, favourite of the people. Thou shalt 
shed reverent tears for the crime of Pelusian Canopus, 
and raise to Pompev ''■ a memori-d loftier than blood- 
stained Pharos. These lays sjialt thou sing as a 
youth in early prime,** before the age at which \'irgil 
wrote his G?iat. The untutored Muse of bold 
Ennius shall give way to thine, and the towering 
frenzy of learned Lucretius, he " too who led the 
Argonauts through the narrow seas, and he who 
changes bodies from their former shapes.^ What 
greater praise can I give ? the Aeneid itself, as thou 
singest to Roman folk, shall do thee homage. Nor 
will I give thee splendour of song alone, but with 

clamation " de Incendio Urbis," (vi.) an " allocutio," or 
poem to Polla, his wife, (vii.) the I'liarsalki. Fragments of 
(i.) and (ii.) remain. 

*" Caesar, subsequently deified. 

" The murder of Pompey there after Pharsaliis. 

"* i.e., before he was twenty-six ; hence it is argued that 
" XVI." in Donatus's life of Virgil must be changed to 
" XXVI.," as the year in which he wrote the Culex. 

" Varro Atacinus. 

^ Ovid in the Metamorphoses. 

ST ATI us 

sed taedis genialibus dicabo 

doctam atque ingenio tuo decoram, 

qualem blanda Venus daretque luno 

forma, simplicitate, comitate, 85 

censii, sanguine, gratia, decore, 

et vestros hymenaeon ante postes 

fastis cantibus ipsa personabo. 

o saevae nimium gravesque Parcae ! 

o numquam data longa fata sumniis ! 90 

cur plus, ardua, casibus patetis ? 

cur saeva vice magna non senescunt ? 

sic natum Nasamonii Tonantis 

post ortus obitusque fulminatos 

angusto Babylon premit sepulcro. 95 

sic fixum Paridis manu trementis^ 

Peliden Thetis horruit cadentem. 

sic ripis ego murmurantis Hebri 

non mutum caput Orpheos sequebar. 

sic et tu — rabidi nefas tyranni ! — 100 

iussus praecipitem subire Lethen, 

dum pugnas canis arduaque voce 

das solacia grandibus sepulcris, 

— o dirum scelus ! o scelus ! — tjicebis." 

sic fata est leviterque decidentes 105 

abrasit lacrimas nitente plectro. 

At tu, seu rapidum poli per axem 
Famae cui-ribus arduis levatus, 
qua surgunt aniniae potentiores, 

^ trementis 5" : prementis LM. 

" The construction is paralleled by Plautiis, Miles 619 
" neque te decora neque tiiis virtutibus." 

'' Alexander the Great, who proclaimed himself the son 
of the Liliyan god Ammon (= Jupiter). 


SILVAE, II. VII. 82-100 

the torclies of wedlock '* will bestow on thee a poetess 
suited to thy genius, for beauty, simplicity, gracious- 
ness, wealth, lineage, charm, and loveliness worthy of 
kindly Venus' or of Juno's giving, and myself will 
chant before your gate the festal marriage-hymn. 
Alas ! ye Fates, too stern and cruel ! Alas ! that 
the highest never long endure ! Why are lofty 
things most prone to fall ? Why by a cruel chance 
doth greatness ne'er grow old ? Even so is the son 
of the Nasamonian Thunderer ,** whose lightning 
Hashed from rising to setting sun,*^ confined in a 
narrow tomb at Babylon. Even so did Thetis swoon 
to see Pelides fall, pierced bv the hand of coward 
Paris. Even so did I upon the banks of murmuring 
Hebrus follow the head of Orpheus not mute in 
death. Even so on thee- — ah ! the impious '^ frenzied 
tyrant ! — bidden while singing of battles and with 
lofty utterance solacing the mighty dead to plunge 
in Lethe's rushing stream — O crime, O most foul 
crime ! — on thee too shall silence fall." She spoke, 
and with shining quill brushed away her lightly-falling 

But '^ thou, whether uplifted in tlie soaring cliariot 
of fame through the whirling vault of heaven, whither 
rise more puissant souls, tliou lookest down upon the 

" Or " after his lightning-swift rise and setting." But 
" fulmen " is commonly used in poetry of a warlike hero, 
as " duo fulmina belli " of the Scipios by Virgil, and Sidonius 
seems to be imitating Statius in " paterno actum fulmine 
pervolasse terras " (ix. 50), and in " vitam fulminibus parem 
peregit " (xxiii. 96). 

''■ Postgate takes " nefas " in apposition to "tu," " a re- 
proach to the frenzied tyrant," i.e. Lucan is to be a reproach 
to the tyrant Nero. 

* C/. the opening of Phars. ix. 



terras despicis et sepulcra rides ; 110 

seu pacis merito nemus reclusi 

felix Elysii tenes in oris, 

quo Pharsalica turba congregatur, 

et te nobile carmen insonantem 

Pompei eomitantur et Catones, 115 

seu^ magna saeer et superbus umbra 

noscis^ Tartaron et procul nocentum 

audis verbera pallidumque visa 

matris lampade respicis Neronem, 

adsis lucidus et vocante Polla 120 

unum, quaeso, diem deos silentum 

exores : solet hoc patere limen 

ad nuptas redeuntibus maritis. 

haec te non thiasis procax dolosis 

falsi numinis induit figura, 125 

ipsum sed colit et frequentat ipsum 

imis altius insitum medullis, 

ac solacia vana^ subministrat 

vultus, qui simili notatus auro 

stratis praenitet incubatque somno 130 

seeurae. procul hinc abite, Mortes : 

haec v'itae genialis est origo. 

cedat luctus atrox genisque manent 

iam dulces lacrimae dolorque festus, 

quicquid fleverat ante, nunc adoret. 135 

^ seu Heinsius : tu LM: dum Bnrsian. 
^ noscis Haupf : nescis LM. 
^ vana LM : vera Baehrens. 

" Nero had his mother Aj^rippina put to death. 

* Statius has in mind here the story of Laodamia and 
Protesilaus, who was allowed to return to his wife for one 
day. Laodamia venerated her husband in the form of 



earth and laughest at sepulchres ; or whether on 
Elysian sliores that thy deserts have won thee thou 
hast gained the bhssful bower of peace, where the 
licroes of Pharsalus forgather, and as thy noble lay 
resounds a Pompey or a Cato bears tliee company ; 
or wlietlier a niiglity shade, inviolable and proud, 
thou visitest Tartarus and hearest afar the stripes of 
the guilty and beholdest Nero pale at the sight of 
his mother's torch : * be present in shining splendour, 
and, since Polla calls thee, gain one day, I beg, from 
the gods of the silent world : ^ open is that door to 
Iiusbands returning to their brides. She clothes 
tliee not in the shape of an unreal deity, in the 
wantonness of lying revels, but worships thy very 
self and has communion with thee in her being's 
inmost depths, and wins but empty solace from thy 
countenance which carved to thy likeness in gold 
sliines above her couch and broods over her un- 
troubled slumbers. Depart far hence, ye Deaths : 
here is the well-spring of sustaining life.« Let 
stubborn sorrow have an end, and tears of happiness 
now fall, and the mourning of solemn grief be turned 
to adoration. 

Uacchus, and seems to have feigned herself a votary of that 
god, to avoid a second marriage. Folia's reverence for her 
husband does not need such aid. It was a contemporary 
custom, to honour the dead in the form of deities, cf. Silrae, 
v. 1. 2Sl, Suet. Cal. 7 of the young son of Germanicus 
and Agrippina, who died in early boyhood ; Livia set up an 
image of him in the character of Cupid, cf. also Apuleius, 
Mfit. viii. 7. 

" The Genius or vital principle, incarnate in the head of 
the family while he is alive, still abides for Polla in the 
spirit of the departed, with whom she enjoys a mystic 



Statius Pollio suo Salutem 

Tibi certe, PoUi dulcissime et hac eui tam fideliter 
inhaeres quiete dignissime, non habeo diu proban- 
dam libellorum istorum temeritatem, cum scias 
multos ex illis in sinu tuo subito natos et banc 
audaciani stili nostri frequenter expaveris, quotiens 
in illius facundiae tuae penetrali seductus altius 
litteras intro et in omnes a te studiorum sinus ducor. 
Securus itaque tertius hie silvarum nostrarum liber 
ad te mittitur. Habuerat quidem te secundus testem 
sed hie habet auctorem. Nam primum limen eius 
Hercules Surrentinus aperit, quem in litore tuo con- 
secratum, statim ut videram, his versibus adoravi. 
Sequitur libellus, quo splendidissimum et mihi 
iucundissimum iuvenem, Maecium Celerem, a sacra- 
tissimo imperatore missum ad legionem Syriacam, 
quia sequi non poteram, sic prosecutus sum. Mere- 
batur et Claudi Etrusci mei pietas aliquod ex studiis 
nostris solacium, cum lugeret veris — quod iam 

" Pollius : see on ii. 2 and iii. 1. 


Statius to his Friexd Pollius " : Grf.etixg ! 

To you at least, my dearest Pollius, than whom none 
is more worthy of that tranquillity to which you cling 
so faithfully, to you at least I need not justify at 
great length the boldness of my verses, for you know 
that many of them came suddenly to birth under 
your protecting care, and often have you been 
alarmed at the audacity of my pen, when in the 
intimacy of your genius I have ventured deep into 
the secluded realm of letters, and have been led by 
you through all the winding ways of poesy. 

And so it is without fear that I send you this third 
volume of my Impromptu vei'ses. For while you lent 
your witness to the second, to this you have given 
the authority of your name. For its gates are un- 
barred by the Surrentine Hercules, to which, when 
I had seen it after its dedication on your shore, I at 
once paid my tribute in these lines. Then comes a 
poem, which, when my charming and distinguished 
friend, Maecius Celer, was ordered by our sacred 
Emperor to the Syrian front, since I could not 
follow him, I sent to attend him on his way. The 
devotion of my dear Claudius Etruscus also de- 
served some solace from my pen when in real 
grief— and how rare that is ! — he was mourning 



rarissimum^ est — lacrimis senem patrem. Earinus 
})raeterea, Germanici nostri libertus — scis^ quamdiu 
desideriuni eius moratus sim. cum petisset ut capillos 
suos, quos cum gemmata pyxide et speculo ad Per- 
gamenum Asclepium mittebat, versibus dedicarem. 
Summa est egloga, qua mecum secedere Neapolim 
Claudiam meam exhortor. Hie, si verum dicimus, 
sermo et quidem securus, ut cum uxore et qui 
persuadere malit quam placere. Huic praecipue 
libello favebis, cum scias banc destinationem quietis 
meae tibi maxime intendere meque non tam in 
patriam quam ad te secedere. Vale. 


Intermissa tibi renovat, Tirynthie, sacra 
Pollius et causas designat desidis anni, 
quod coleris maiore tholo, nee litora pauper 
nuda tenes tectumque vagis habitabile nautis, 
sed nitidos postes Graisque efFulta metallis 5 

culmina, ceu taedis iterum lustratus honesti 
ignis ab Oetaea conscenderis aethera flamma. 
vix oculis animoque fides, tune ille reclusi 

1 iam Tanssiimum Ba^hrens : amarissimum M : rarissimum 

* scis VoUmer : scit M. 

" A common epithet of Hercules, who was reared at Tiryns, 
though born at Thebes. 

* i.e., having the new temple is like being deified anew. 
Oeta was the scene of the burning of Hercules and his 


SILVAE, III. I. 1-8 

for his aged father. Next Earinus, freedman of 
our prince Germanicus — you know how long I 
have put off the Emperor's expressed desire tJiat 
I should write some verses in honour of his tresses, 
which he was sending to Asclepius at Pergamum 
together with a mirror and a jewelled box. Finally 
there is the piece in which I entreat my wife 
Claudia to retire with me to Naples. This, to tell 
the truth, is just talk, quite unreserved, from a 
husband to a wife, and that would persuade rather 
than delight. You will particularly favour this poem, 
since you will know that you above all are the 
object of my proposed retreat, and that my retire- 
ment is not so much to my own country as to yourself. 


The poem describes how Polllus built a more worthy temple 
for Hercules in the neighbourhood of his villa ; the god 
himself gave assistance, and the work was finished with 
miraculous speed. The piece ends with praise of Pollius, 
put into the mouth of the grateful deity. 

Pollius renews thy interrupted rites, O lord of 
Tiryns," and makes clear the causes of a year's neglect, 
seeing that now thou art worshipped beneath a 
mightier dome, and no longer hast a beggarly home 
on the naked shore, a shanty where wandering 
mariners can lodge, but shining portals and towers 
upheld by Grecian marbles, as though purified by the 
brands of ennobling fire tliou hadst a second time 
ascended heavenward from Oeta's flames.'' Scarce 
can sight or memory be trusted. Art thou verily that 



liminis et parvae custos inglorius arae ? 
unde haec aula recens fulgorque inopinus agresti 10 
Alcidae ? sunt fata deum, sunt fata locoruni ! 
o velox pietas ! steriles hie nuper harenas, 
adsparsum pelago montis latus hirtaque dumis 
saxa nee ulla pati faciles vestigia terras 
cernere erat. quaenam subito fortuna rigentes 15 
ditavit scopulos ? Tyrione haec moenia plectro 
an Getica venere lyra ? stupet ipse labores 
annus, et angusti bisseno hniite menses 
longaevum mirantur opus, deus attulit arces 
erexitque suas atque obluctantia saxa 20 

sunimovit nitens et niagno pectore montem 
reppulit : immitem credas iussisse novercam. 

Ergo age, seu patrios hber iam legibus Argos 
incohs et mersum tumuhs Eurysthea calcas, 
sive tui solium lovis et virtute parata 25 

astra tenes, haustumque tibi succincta beati 
nectaris excluso melior Phryge porrigit Hebe : 
hue ades et genium templis nascentibus infer, 
non te Lerna nocens nee pauperis arva Molorchi 
nee formidatus Nemees ager antraque poscunt 30 
Thracia nee Pharii polluta altaria regis, 
sed felix simplexque domus fraudumque malarum 
inscia et hospitibus superis dignissima sedes. 
pone truces arcus agmenque immite pharetrae 
et regum multo perfusum sanguine robur, 35 

instratumque umeris dimitte rigentibus^ hostem : 

^ rigentibus Gfvart: gerentibus .V: ingentibiis Markland. 

" Amphion and Orpheus, 

^ He entertained Hercules before the slaying of tlie 
Nemean lion. 

SILVAE, 111. 1. 9-3(i 

inglorious warden of a gateless thresliold and a puny 
altar ? Whence hath the rustic Alcides this new 
court and this unwonted splendour ? Gods liave 
their destinies and places also ! What swift de- 
votion ! Here of late could be seen but barren 
sands, a wave-beaten mountain-side, and boulders 
rough with scrub, and cliffs that would scarce admit 
a foothold. What sudden fortune has embellished 
tliese stark crags ? Did those walls rise to Tyrian 
music or to the Getic harp ? " The year itself marvels 
at the toil, and the months in their twelvefold orbit 
are amazed to see the work of ages. 'Twas the god 
that brought and uplifted his own towei-s, and by 
might and main moved the resisting boulders, and 
with huge breast drove back the mountain ; you 
would have thought liis cruel stepdame bade him. 

Come then, whetlier free at last from thraldom 
thou dwellest in thy ancestral Argos, and spurnest 
Eurystheus in his grave, or whether the throne of 
thy father Jove and the stars thy valour won thee 
are thy abode, and Hebe with robe upgirt, more 
charming than tlie banished Phrygian lad, hands 
thee the draught of blissful nectar : hither come, 
and bi-ing thy presence to the new-born shrine. No 
harmful Lerna calls thee, nor the aci-es of poor 
Molorchus ^ nor Nemea's dreaded field, nor Thracian 
caves nor the polluted altars of the Pharian prince," 
but a blest and innocent home that knows naught 
of evil fraud, an abode most worthy of a divine guest. 
Lay aside thy ruthless bow and thy quiver's cruel 
liorde and the club that plenteous blood of kings 
hath stained ; cast off the foe that is spread upon thy 

''■ The capture of the Horses of Uioiiiede in Tlirace and 
the slaughter of J3u.siris in Egypt are referred to. 


ST ATI us 

hie tibi Sidonio celsum pulvinar acantho 
texitur et signis crescit torus asper eburnis. 
pacatus mitisque veni nee turbidus ira 
nee famulare timens, sed quern te Maenalis Auge 40 
confectum thiasis et multo fratre madentem 
detinuit qualemque vagae post erimina noetis 
Thespius obstupuit, totiens soeer. hie tibi festa 
gymnas, et insontes iuvenuni sine eaestibus^ irae 
annua veloci peragunt eertaniina lustro. 45 

hie templis inseriptus avo gaudente saeerdos 
parvus adhue simihsque tui, cum prima novereae 
monstra manu premeres atque exanimata doleres. 

Sed quaenam subiti, veneranda, exordia tempH, 
die age, Calhope ; soeius tibi grande sonabit 50 

Aleides tensoque modos imitabitur arcu. 

Tempus erat, eaeli eum torrentissimus axis 
incumbit terris ietusque Hyperione multo 
aeer anhelantes ineendit Sirius agros. 
iamque dies aderat, profugis cum regibus aptum 55 
fumat Arieinum Triviae nemus et face multa 
conseius Hippolyti splendet lacus ; ipsa eoronat 
emeritos Diana canes et spicula terget 
et tutas sinit ire feras, omnisque pudieis 

^ caestibus M : testibus r : caedibus Markland. 

" Of Tegea in Arcadia, mother of Telephus by Hercules. 
The jovial and amatory character of the god is a common 
theme of ancient literature. 

* Bacchus was a brother of Hercules, being equally son 
of Zeus. 

"^ Probably the eldest son of Julius Menecrates, to whom 
iv. 8 is addressed. 

"* The snakes that Hera sent to slay him in his cradle. 

' Hippolytiis when healed by Asclepios was hidden hy 
Diana in her precinct by the lake. The lake of Xenii is 


SILVAE, III. I. 37-59 

stalwart shoulders : liere are high-piled cushions for 
thee, embroidered with acanthus in purple hue, and 
a lofty couch all rough with ivory carving. Come in 
a peaceable and gentle spirit, not turbulent with 
wrath nor suspicious like a slave, but in such mood 
as when Auge "■ the Maenalian maid detained thee, 
worn out with revel and drenclied with thy brother's 
wine,** or when Thespius, the father of thy many 
brides, marvelled at thee after the reproach of that 
roving night. Here hast thou a festal playing- 
ground, where ungloved youths in innocent rivalry 
perform the yearly, swift-recurring contests. Here 
on thy temple is written thy priest's name to the 
joy of his grandsire : '^ small is he yet, and like to 
thee when with thy hand thou didst quell the first 
monsters of thy stepdame '^ and weep that they were 

But come, august Calliope, tell how the sudden 
shrine arose ; Alcides will bear thee company with 
ringing voice, and twang his bowstring to imitate 
thy strains. 

'Twas the season when the vault of heaven bends 
its most scorching heat upon the earth, and the 
Dog-star smitten by Hyperion's full might pitilessly 
burns the panting fields. And now the day had 
come, when the torch-smoke rises from Trivia's 
grove at Aricia, refuge of the runaways who reign 
there, and the lights twinkle on the lake that knew 
the secret of Hippolytus ^ ; Diana herself sets gai-- 
lands on her faithful hounds, and polishes her darts 
and lets the wild beasts go free, while at its virtuous 

close to y\ricia ; tlie priest of tlie shrine was called " rex 

Neniorensis." and was a runaway slave who " slajs the 
slayer and shall himself be slain." 

VOL. I h 1 45 

ST ATI us 

Itala terra focis Hecateidas excolit idus. 60 

ast ego, Dardaniae quanivis sub collibus Albae 
rus proprium magnique ducis mihi munere currens 
unda domi curas midcere aestusque levare 
sufficerent, notas Sirenum nomine rupes 
facundique larem Polli non hospes habebam, 65 

assidue moresque viri pacemque novosque 
Pieridum flores intaetaque carmina discens. 
forte diem Triviae dum litore ducimus udo 
angustasque fores adsuetaque tecta gravati 
frondibus et patula defendimus arbore soles, 70 

delituit caelum et subitis lux Candida cessit 
nubibus ac tenuis graviore favonius austro 
immaduit ; qualem Libyae Saturnia nimbum 
attulit, Iliaco dum dives Elissa marito 
donatur testesque ululant per devia nymphae. 75 

diffugimus, festasque dapes redimitaque vina 
abripiunt famuli ; nee quo convivia migrent, 
quamvis innumerae gaudentia rura superne 
insedere domus et niulto culmine dives 
mons nitet : instantes sed proxima quaerere nimbi 
suadebant laesique fides reditura sereni. 81 

stabat dicta sacri tenuis casa nomine templi 
et magnum Alciden humili lare parva premebat, 
fluctivagos nautas scrutatoresque profundi 
vix operire capax. hue omnis turba coinius, 85 

hue epulae ditesque tori coetusque ministrum 
stipantur nitidaeque cohors gratissima Pollae. 
non cepere fores, angustaque deficit aedes. 

" August 13th. * i.e., Diana. 

"^ Because founded by the Trojans under Aeneas. 
"* Domitian had built the poet a water-conduit on his 
estate at Alba, where the Emperor himself had a residence. 
« Surrentum, c/. ii. 2. f See Virg. Aen. iv. 160. 


SILVAE, III. I. 00-88 

lieai-ths all Italy celebrates the Ides ** of Hecate.^ 
But I, although beneath Dardanian Alba's hills <^ an 
estate of my own and a rivulet that runs for me by 
the grace of our great prince '' sufficed to soothe my 
cares and to allay the summer heat, was making the 
rocks of the Sirens ^ and the home of eloquent Pollius 
my abode, no stranger there, and zealously gaining 
knowledge of his peaceful soul and studying the new 
Pierian blooms of his innocent Muse. It chanced 
that, while we were spending Trivia's day upon the 
watery shore, and discontented with narrow doors 
and wonted house were sheltering from the sun 
'neath the foliage of a spreading tree, the sky was 
hid, the bright light gave place to sudden cloud and 
the faint breeze changed to a heavy downpour from 
the south ; such a storm as Saturnia brought upon 
Libya, while wealthy Elissa was given to her Ilian 
lover and the witnessing Nymphs shrieked in the 
pathless glades.^ Helter-skelter we fly, and the 
slaves snatch up the festal banquet and wreathed 
goblets ; nor was there any refuge for the guests, 
though countless houses were planted on the happy 
fields above, and the mountain glittered with a 
wealth of towers : but the lowering clouds and the 
assurance that the fair weather, though ruined, 
would return, urged us to seek the nearest shelter. 
There stood a mean shanty bearing the name of a 
sacred shrine, that confined the great Alcides within 
its humble walls, scarce large enough to house sea- 
wandering mariners and searchers of the deep Hitlier 
all the crowd of us gather, hither throng the band of 
slaves with the costly couches and the feast, and all 
the pleasant household of elegant Polla. The doors 
would not contain us, the narrow shrine lacked room. 


ST ATI us 

erubuit risitque deus dilectaque Polli 
corda subit blandisque virum complectitur ulnis. 90 
tune," inquit, " largitor opum, qui mente profusa 
tecta Dicarchei pariter iuvenemque replesti 
Parthenopen ? nostro qui tot fastigia monti, 
tot virides lucos, tot saxa imitantia vultus 
aeraque, tot scripto viventes lumine ceras 95 

fixisti ? quid enim ista domus, quid terra, priusquam 
te gauderet, erat ? longo tu tramite nudos 
texisti scopulos, fueratque ubi semita tantuni, 
nunc tibi distinctis stat porticus alta columnis, 
ne sorderet iter, curvi tu litoris ora 100 

clausisti calidas gemina testudine nymphas. 
vix opera enumerem ; mihi pauper et indigus uni 
Pollius ? et tales hilaris tamen intro penates 
et litus, quod pandis, amo. sed proxima sedem 
despicit et tacite ridet niea limina luno. 105 

da templum dignasque tuis conatibus aras, 
quas puppes velis nolint transire secundis, 
quo pater aetherius mensisque accita deorum 
turba et ab excelso veniat soror hospita templo. 
nee te, quod solidus contra riget umbo maligni 1 10 
montis et immenso non umquam exesus ab aevo, 
terreat : ipse adero et conaniina tanta iuvabo 
asperaque invitae perfringam viscera terrae. 
incipe et Herculeis fidens hortatibus aude. 

" Founder of Puteoli. 

* " iuvenem " seems to be a pla}' upon the literal meaning of 
Parthenope {TrdpOft'os^ maiden), of. iv. 8. 55. Statins is fond 
of doing this, rf. Phemonoe (ii. 2. 38), Plmplea (lb. 37). 

" Not otlierwise mentioned, exc. 1. 137. 

^ It would stop either to look at and salute the temple, 


SILVAE, III. I. 89-114 

Tlie god blushed, and laugliiiig stole into the lieart 
of his beloved Pollius, and witli cai-essing arms em- 
braced his friend : " Art thou." said he, " that 
lavisher of -wealth, who with generous heart hast 
iilled full alike the dwellings of Dicai-cheus <* and 
youthful ^ Parthenope ? who on my own mount tiast 
set so many towers, so many verdant groves, so 
many lifelike marbles and bronzes, and waxen forms 
that the glow of colour animates ? For what was 
that house of thine, tliat country before it rejoiced 
in thee ? Thou didst clothe bare rock with a long 
pathway, and where before was but a track, now 
stands a lofty colonnade with painted ]">illars, that the 
road might be seemly. Upon the curving strand thou 
didst imprison heated waters 'neath cupolas twain. 
Scarce can I number all thy works : and to me alone 
is Pollius needy and in want .'' yet even such a shrine 
I enter cheerfully, and love tlie shore thou openest 
to me. But Juno hard by '' scorns my dwelling, and 
laughs silently at my shrine. Give me a temple and 
an altar worthy of thy endeavours, an altar such as 
no vessel would fain neglect "^ though speeding with 
prosperous sail, one to which the ethereal Sire and 
the guests of heavenly banquets and my sister in- 
vited from her lofty shi'ine might come." Nor be 
dismayed that a mass of stark, malignant mountain 
doth confront thee, which unnumbered ages liave 
not worn away ; I will myself be present to aid so 
great an enterprise, and will break through the 
flinty bowels of the unwilling earth. Begin, and 
dare the task, trusting in Hercules' encouragement. 

cf. Stat. Theb. iv. 812, or even to disembark and worship, 
cf. Virg. Aen. iii. 453. 

* From the promontory of Minerva near by. 

1 M) 

ST ATI us 

non Aniphioniae steterint velocius ai'ces 115 

Pergameusve laboi\" dixit nientemque reliquit. 
Nee mora, cum scripta formatur imagine tela, 
innumerae cuiere manus : his caedere silvas 
et levare trabes, illis immergere curae 
fundamenta solo, coquitur pars umida terrae 120 
protectura hiemes atque exclusura pruinas, 
indomitusque silex curva fornace liquescit. 
praecipuus sed enim labor est exscindere dextra 
oppositas rupes et saxa negantia ferro. 
hie pater ipse loci positis Tirynthius armis 12.5 

insudat validaque solum deforme bipenni, 
cum grave nocturna caelum subtexitur umbra, 
ipse fodit. ditesque Caprae^ viridesque resultant 
Taurubulae, et terris ingens redit aequoris echo, 
non tam grande sonat motis incudibus Aetne, 130 
cum Brontes Steropesque ferit, nee maior ab antris 
Lenmiacis fragor est, ubi flammeus aegida caelat 
Mulciber et castis exornat Pallada donis. 
decrescunt scopuli, et rosea sub luce reversi 
artifices mirantur opus. \ix annus anhelat 13.5 

alter, et ingenti dives Tirynthius arce 
despectat fluctus et iunctae tecta novercae 
provocat et dignis invitat Pallada templis. 
iam placidae dant signa tubae, iam fortibus ardens 
fumat harena sacris. hos nee Pisaeus honores 140 
luppiter aut Cirrhae pater aspernetur opacae. 
nil his triste locis ; cedat lacrimabilis Isthmos, 

^ ditesque Caprae 3/ : dites Capreae 5". 

" The walls of Troy were built by Apollo and Neptune, 
those of Thebes by the music of Amphion. 

* Cf. " corda subit,' 1. 90. <^ An island near Naples. 


SILVAE, III. I. 115-142 

Anipluon's towei's will not have risen more swiflly, 
nor the toilsome walls of Troy."* " He spoke, and 
went from out his heart.'' 

Without delay the design is sketched and the plan 
shaped. Innumerable workers gather : some have 
the task of felling trees or planing beams, others 
sink the foundations in the soil. Moist clay is baked 
to protect against storm and to keep out frost, and 
imtamed limestone is melted in the round furnace. 
But the chief labour is to cleave by might and main 
the opposing rock and the boulders that resist the 
steel. Hereupon the patron of the place, the 
Tirynthian himself, lays by his arms and sweats at 
the work, and himself with strong axe hews at the 
shapeless mass, when the lowering sky is veiled by 
the shades of night. Rich Caprae and green 
Taurubulae '^ resound, and the mighty echo of the sea 
returns again to the land. Not so loud is Aetna's 
din, when the anvils are busy and Brontes and 
Steropes ply the hammer, nor greater the noise from 
the Lemnian eaves when Mulciber amid his flames 
forges the aegis and makes chaste gifts for Pallas. 
The cliffs diminish, and the workmen returning in 
the rosy dawn marvel at the achievement. Scarce 
has a second panting summer come, when the 
Tirynthian enriched by a mighty dome looks down 
upon the waves and challenges his stepdame's neigh- 
bouring abode, and invites Pallas to a temple worthy 
of her. Already the peaceful trumpets give the 
signal, already the sand smokes and burns with the 
valiant contests. Such honours would neither Pisaean 
Jove nor the sire of leafy Cirrha spurn.'' No sadness 
is here : let tearful Isthmos and cruel Nemea give 
'^ i.e., at the games of Olympia and Delphi. 



cedat atrox Nemee : litat hie felicior infans. 

ipsae puniiceis^ virides Nereides antris 

exsiliunt ultro : scopulis umentibus haerent 145 

nee pudet occulta nudas spectare palaestras. 

spectat et Icario nemorosus palmite Gaurus 

silvaque, quae fixam pelago Nesida coronat, 

et placidus Linion omenque^ Euploea carinis 

et Lucrina \'enus, Phrygioque e vertice Graias 150 

addisces, Misene, tubas, ridetque benigna 

Parthenope gentile saci'um nudosque virorum 

certatus et parva suae simulacra coronae. 

Quin age et ipse libens proprii certaminis actus 
invicta dignare nianu ; seu nubila disco 155 

findere seu volucres zephyros praecedere telo 
seu tibi dulce manu Libycas nodare palaestras, 
indulge sacris, et, si tibi poma supersunt 
Hesperidum, gremio venerabilis ingere Pollae ; 
nam capit et tantum non degenerabit^ honorem. 160 
quod si dulce decus ^-iridesque resumeret annos, 
— da veniam, Alcide — fors huic et pensa tulisses. 

Haec ego nascentes laetus bacchatus ad aras 
libamenta tuli. nunc ipse* in limine — cerno ' 
solventem voces et talia dicta ferentem : 165 

^ pumiceis S" : puniceis 3/ Pol. {from P). 

* Limon omenque Guyet : limo numenque M. 
^ degenerabit M : dejarener ambit Grojiovius. 

* ipse 21 : ipsum Jjcm. : ipso 5'. MacnayJiten' s punctua- 

" The Isthmian games were held in honour of the child 
Palaemon, son of Ino, those at Nemea in honour of Opheltes 
(Archemorus), for whom see Thebaid iv. (end), v. and vi. 

* Now Monte Barbaro in Campania ; its wines were 
famous ; Icarus was a son of Oebalus, king of Sparta, and 


SILVAE, III. I. 143-1G5 

place ; a luckier infant here makes sacrifice." The 
very Nymphs of the green waters leap forth unbidden 
from their pumice caves ; they cling to tlie streaming- 
rocks nor think shame to gaze unseen on the naked 
wrestlers. Gaurus ^ too beholds them witli its grove 
of Icarian vines, and the wood that crowns the peak 
of Nesis set fast in ocean, and calm Limon and Eu- 
j)loea of good omen for ships and the Lucrine Venus'' ; 
thou too, Misenus, from thy Phrygian height shalt 
learn the Grecian trumpet-calls, while Parthenope 
smiles with kindly heart upon the ceremonies of her 
race and the naked bouts of youths and the humble 
garlands that imitate her own. 

Come now thyself, and graciously deign to honour 
the feats of thine own festival with thy invincible 
might : whether it please thee to cleave the clouds 
with the discus, or with thy shaft to outstrip the 
speedy Zephyrs, or to lock fast thy arms in a Eibyan 
MTestle,'^ grant our rites this boon, and, if thou hast 
still the apples of the Hesperides, place them in the 
lap of venerable Polla ; for she is worthy to take 
them, and will not dishonour so great a gift. Nay, 
might she but recover the charm and beauty of her 
youth — forgive me, Alcides — perchance for her* 
thou hadst even spun the wool. 

Such is the offering I have brought in joyful 
revelry to the new-born shrine. I^o ! now he himself 
upon the threshold — I see him opening his mouth 
and speaking : "A blessing on thy spirit and thy 

father of Penelope ; he was taught the use of the vine by 
Bacchus. " A temple of Venus near Baiae. 

'' The reference is to Hercules' bout with Antaeus, the 
Libyan giant ; this leads to the mention of the apples of the 

" As he did for Omphale, the Lydian princess. 



" macte animis opibusque meos imitate labores, 
qui rigidas rupes infecundaeque pudenda 
naturae deserta domas et vertis in usum 
lustra habitata feris foedeque latentia prefers 
nuniina. quae tibi nunc nieritoruni praemia solvani ? 
quas referam grates ? Parcaruni fila tenebo 171 

extendamque colus — duram scio vincere Mortem — , 
avertam luctus et tristia damna vetabo 
teque nihil laesum viridi renovabo senecta 
concedamque diu iuvenes spectare nepotes, ITo 

donee et hie sponsae maturus et ilia marito, 
rursus et ex illis soboles nova grexque protervus 
nunc umeris inreptet avi, nunc agmine blando 
certatim placidae concurrat ad oscula Pollae. 
nam templis numquam statuetur terminus aevi, 180 
dum me flammigeri portabit machina caeli. 
nee mihi plus Nemee priscumque habitabitur Argos 
nee Tiburna domus solisque cubilia Gades." 
sic ait ; et tangens surgentem altaribus ignem 
populeaque movens albentia tempera silva 185 

et Styga et aetherii iura\it fulmina patris. 


Di, quibus audaces amor est servare carinas 

" A different meaning in i. 4. 64 ; here the threads are to 
be stretched out and made longer. 

* Strabo mentions a shrine of Hercules at Gades. 


SILVAE, III. I. 166— n. 1 

wealtli, wherewith thou hast imitated my own 
labours, who canst tame the rugged rocks and tlie 
abhorred wastes of barren nature, and turnest to thy 
use the wild beasts' lairs, and bringest forth my 
godhead from shameful hiding ! What reward shall 
I now give thee for thy merits ? How show my 
gratitude ? I will hold fast the threads of the Fates 
and stretch out the wool upon their distaffs " — I can 
subdue remorseless Death — I will bid sorrow flee and 
suffer not sad loss to harm thee, and I will renew 
thee in a green old age untouched by time, and 
grant thee long to behold thy growing grandchildren, 
until the one is ripe for a bride and the other for a 
husband, and from them a new progeny springs, and 
a merry band now clambers about their grandsire's 
shoulders, now run in eager and loving rivalry for the 
kisses of tranquil Polla. To this shrine shall no term 
of age be set, so long as the fabric of the flaming sky 
shall carry me. Not in Nemea or ancient Argos shall 
I niore often dwell, or in my home at Tibur or in 
Gades,*" resting-place of the sun." So he speaks, 
and touching the fire that rose upon the altar and 
nodding his temples white with poplar-leaves he 
swore by Styx and by the thunderbolt of his ethereal 


The Propempticon or valedictory poem seems to have been 
one of the regular types of poem for which rules were laid 
down in the schools of rhetoric; Horace, C. i. S, Epod. 1, 
Tibidliis, i. S, may be called Propemptica, cf. also the song 
in Theocritus, Id. 7. Nothing more is known of Maecitis, 
except that he teas consul suffectus in 101. 

Ye Gods whose delight it is to preserve adventurous 



saevaquc ventosi muleere pericula ponti, 

sternite moUe fretum placid umque advertite votis 

concilium, et lenis non obstrepat unda precanti : 

" grande tuo rarumque damus, Neptune, profundo 5 

depositum. iuvenis dubio committitur alto 

Maecius atque animae pai-tem super aequora nostrae 

maiorem transferre parat. proferte benigna 

sidera et antemnae gemino considite cornu, 

Oebalii fratres ; vobis pontusque polusque 10 

luceat ; Iliacae longe nimbosa sororis 

astra fugate, precor, totoque excludite caelo. 

vos quoque caeruleum ponti. Nereides, agmen, 

quis honor et regni cessit fortuna secundi 

— dicere quae^ magni fas sit mihi sidera ponti — , 15 

surgite de vitreis spumosae Doridos antris 

Baianosque sinus et feta tepentibus undis 

litora tranquillo certatim ambite natatu, 

quaerentes ubi celsa ratis, quam scandere gaudet 

nobilis Ausoniae Celer armipotentis alumnus. 20 

nee quaerenda diu ; modo nam trans aequora terris 

prima Dicarcheis Pharium gra\is intulit annum, 

prima salutavit Capreas et margine dextro 

sparsit Tyrrhenae Mareotica \ina Minervae. 

huius utrumque latus molli praecingite gyro, 25 

partitaeque vices vos stuppea tendite mali 

vincula, vos summis adnectite sipara velis, 

vos zephyris aperite sinus ; pars transtra reponat, 

^ quae 3/ : quas Heinsius. 

" Spartan, from Oebalus, king of Sparta ; i.e.. Castor and 

* The star of Helen was considered dangerous to ships. 
cf. Theb. vii. 792. 

SILVAE, III. II. 2-28 

sliips, and to assuage the angry perils of tlie gusty 
sea, make the waters smooth and cahn, and Usten in 
peaceful council to my entreaties, and let the waves 
be gentle nor make uproar as I pray : " Great and 
rare, O Neptune, is the pledge I commit unto thy 
deep ; young Maecius is entrusted to the doubtful 
main, and is about to take across the seas the dearer 
half of my soul. Bring forth your favouring stars, 
Oebalian " brethren, and sit upon the twin horns of 
the yard-arm ; let your light illumine sea and sky ; 
drive far away, I pray, your Ilian sister's tempestuous 
star,* and banish her wholly from the heavens. And 
ye too, Nereids, sea-blue horde of ocean, to whom 
the glory and the fortune of the second realm have 
fallen by lot — suffer me to call you stars of the 
mighty deep ! — arise from the glassy caverns of foam- 
encompassed Doris, and in peaceful rivalry swim 
round the bays of Baiae and the shores where the 
hot springs abound ; '^ seek out the loftv ship whereon 
Celer, noble offspring of Ausonia mighty in arms, 
rejoices to embark. Nor need ye long inquire, for 
lately came she across the seas, the first of her convoy, 
to the Dicarchean strand, laden with the Pharian '^ 
harvest, and first was she to salute Capreae, and over 
lier starboard side to pour libation of Mareotic wine 
to Tyrrhene Minerva.*^ Circle gracefully about her 
on either side, and divide your duties : some stretch 
taut from the mast the hempen rigging, some set the 
topsails and spread the canvas to the Zephyrs ; let 
others place the benches, or let down into the water 

" The reference is to the warm springs of Baiae, cf. iii. ,5. 96, 
V. ;5. 1 70. 

"* i.e., of Egypt, so also " Mareotic." 
« Cf. note on ii. 2. 2. 


ST ATI us 

pars demittat aquis curvae modei*amina puppis ; 
sint quibus exploret^ plumbo gravis alta niolybdus,^ 30 
quaeque secuturam religent post terga phaselon 
uncaque summersae penitus retinacula vellant ; 
temperet haec aestus pelagusque inclinet ad ortus : 
officio careat glaucarum nulla sororuni. 
hinc multo Proteus geminoque hinc corpore Triton 35 
praenatet, et subitis qui perdidit inguina monstris 
Glaueus adhuc patriis quotiens adlabitur oi'is 
litoream blanda feriens Anthedona cauda. 
tu tamen ante onines, diva cum matre Palaenion, 
annue, si vestras amor est mihi pandere Thebas, 40 
nee cano degeneri Phoebeum Amphiona plectro. 
et pater, Aeolio frangit qui carcere ventos, 
cui varii flatus omnisque per aequora mundi 
spix-itus atque hiemes nimbosaque nubila parent, 
artius obiecto Borean Eurumque Notumque 45 

monte preniat : soli Zephyro sit copia caeli, 
solus agat puppes summasque supernatet undas 
assiduus pelago ; donee tua turbine nullo 
laeta^ Paraetoniis adsignet carbasa ripis." 

Audimur. vocat ipse ratem nautasque morantes 50 
increpat. ecce meum timido iam frigore pectus 
labitur et nequeo, quamvis monet ominis horror, 
claudere suspenses oculorum in margine fletus. 
iamque ratem terris divisit fune soluto 

^ exploret l)oin. : explorent M. 

- plumbo gravis alta niolybdus Turnebus : primes gravis 
arte molorchos M. The emendations of this line are 
7iumeroKS, but none satisfactory : primos gravis artemo 
lembos Volhner : plenos gravis artemo llntres, primos gravia 
arma ceruchos are various suggestions. 

* laeta M : laesa Heinsius. 


SIL\ AE, III. II. 29-54 

the rudder that guides the curving bark ; let there 
be some to make the heavy sounding-lead explore the 
depths, and others to fasten the skiff that will follow 
astern, and to dive down and drag the hooked 
anchor from the depths, and one to control the tides 
and make the sea flow eastward : let none of the 
sea-green sisterhood be without a task. Then let 
Proteus of manifold shape and twy-formed Triton 
swim before, and Glaucus " whose loins vanished by 
sudden enchantment, and who, so oft as he glides up 
to his native shores, wistfully beats his fish-tail on 
Anthedon's strand. But above all others thou, 
Palaemon, M'ith thy goddess mother, be favourable, 
if 'tis thy desire that I should tell of thine own 
Thebes, and sing of Amphion, bard of Phoebus, with 
no unworthy quill. And may the father whose 
Aeolian prison constrains the winds, whom the various 
blasts obey, and every air that stirs on the world's 
seas, and storms and ckiidy tempests, keep the 
North wind and South and East in closer custody 
behind his wall of mountain ; but may Zephyr alone 
have the freedom of the sky, alone drive vessels 
onward and skim unceasingly o'er the crests of the 
billows, until he bring without a storm thy glad sails 
safe to the Paraetonian ** haven." 

My prayer is heard. The West wind himself calls 
the ship and chides the laggard crew. Lo ! already 
my heart sinks, chilled with fear, and I cannot, 
though the omen shocks me, hold back the tears that 
hover upon my eyelids' verge. And already the 
sailor lias loosed the ro]")e and sundered the vessel 

" See Ovid, Met. xiii. 906 sqq. 

* Egyptian, from Paraetonium, a town on the Libyan 



navita et angustum deiecit in aequora pontem. 55 
saevus et e puppi longo clamore magister 
dissipat amplexus atque oscula fida revellit, 
nee longum cara licet in cer\ice morari. 
attamen in terras e plebe no\"issimus onini 
ibo nee egrediar nisi iam cedente carina.^ GO 

Quis rude et abscissum miseris animantibus aequor 
fecit iter solidaeque pios telluris alumnos 
expulit in fluctus pelagoque immisit hianti 
audax ingenii ? nee enim temeraria Wrtus 
ilia magis, sunimae gelidum quae Pelion Ossae 65 
iunxit anhelantemque iugis bis pressit Olympum. 
usque adeone parum lentas transire paludes 
stagnaque et angustos summittere pontibus amnes ? 
imus in abruptum gentilesque undique terras 
fugimus exigua clausi trabe et aere nudo. 70 

inde furor ventis indignataeque procellae 
et caeli fremitus et fulmina plura Tonanti. 
ante rates pigro torpebant aequora somno, 
nee spumare Thetis nee spargere nubila fluctus 
audebant. \dsis tumuerunt puppibus undae, 75 

inque honiinem surrexit hiems. tunc nubila Plias 
Oleniumque pecus, solito tunc peior Orion, 
iusta queror ; fugit ecce vagas ratis acta per undas 
paulatim minor et longe servantia vincit 
lumina tot gracili ligno complexa timores, 80 

quaeque super reliquos te, nostri pignus amoris, 
portatura, Celer, quo nunc ego pectore somnos 
quove^ queam perferre dies ? quis cuncta paventi 

1 iam cedente carina Dom. : iam carina M. 
^ quo . . . quove Skufsch : quos . . . quosve 31. 

" The star called Capella, see note on i. 3. 96. Its rising 
denoted the beginning of stormy weather. 

SILVAE, III. II. 55-8.3 

from the land, and dropped the narrow gangway into 
the water. On the stern the ruthless master with 
long-drawn shout severs our embraces and parts 
loving lips, nor may one linger long upon the dear 
one's breast. Yet last of all will I be to go on land, 
nor will I leave the ship until she is already under 

Who made of the strange and sundered sea a high- 
way for miserable men, and cast forth upon the waves 
the loyal children of the solid earth and hurled them 
into the jaws of ocean — daring of spirit ? for not 
more adventurous was the valour that joined frozen 
Pelion to Ossa's summit, and crushed panting 
Olympus beneath two mountains. So small a feat 
was it to traverse sluggish lakes and meres and fling 
bridges across the narrowed streams ? Forth we go 
into sheer void, and are fled from the native lands 
about us, enclosed in nought but a few planks and 
the empty air. Therefore do the winds and angry 
tempests rage, the sky thunders and many a bolt is 
sped from the hand of Jove. Before ships were, the 
waters lay in a slumbrous calm, Thetis dared not 
foam nor the waves assault the clouds. But when 
they spied vessels, the billows swelled \vith rage, and 
the hurricane arose against man. Then the Pleiads 
and the Olenian goat ° grew dark with storm, and 
Orion was more wrathful than his wont. Not in 
vain is my complaint : lo ! speeding over the pathless 
waters flies the ship, lessening by degrees and 
baffling the eyes that view her from afar ; how many 
fears does she hold within her slender timbers ! 
thee above all must she bear onward, Celer, object 
of my love ! With what feelings can I endure night's 
slumbers or the day ? Who will tell me, a prey to 

VOL. I M 161 


nuntius, an facili te praetermiserit unda 
Lucaiii rabida ora maris, num torta Charybdis 85 
fluctuet aut Siculi populatrix virgo profundi, 
quos tibi currenti praeceps gerat Hadria mores, 
quae pax Carpathio, quali te subvehat aura 
Doris Agenorei furtis blandita iuvenci ? 
sad merui questus. quid enim te castra petente 90 
non vel ad ignotos ibam comes impiger Indos 
Cimmeriumque chaos ? starem prope bellica regis 
signa mei, seu tela manu seu frena teneres, 
armatis seu iura dares ; operumque tuorum 
etsi non socius, certe mirator adessem. 95 

si quondam magna Phoenix reverendus Achilh 
htus ad Ihacum Thymbraeaque Pergama venit 
imbelhs tumidoque nihil iuratus Atridae, 
cur nobis ignavus amor ? sed pectore fido 
numquam abero longisque sequar tua carbasa votis. 
Isi, Phoroneis olim stabulata sub antris, 101 

nunc regina Phari numenque orientis anheh, 
excipe multisono puppem Mareotida sistro, 
ac iuvenem egregium, Latius cui ductor Eoa 
signa Palaestinasque dedit frenare cohortes, 105 

ipsa manu placida per limina festa sacrosque 
due portus urbesque tuas. te praeside noscat, 
unde paludosi fecunda hcentia Nih, 
cur vada desidant et ripa coerceat undas 

" i.e., Scylla. 

* i.e., the sea between Crete and the Phoenician coast, 
over which travelled the bull that carried off Europa, daughter 
of Agenor, king of Phoenicia. 

" The regions to the north of the Euxine, whence the name 

■* The sistrum was a sort of rattle much used in the worship 
of Isis, here identified with lo, whom Hera out of jealousy 


SILVAE, III. II. 84-109 

every terror, whether the raging coast of the Lucanian 
sea has sped thee by on favouring waves, whether 
eddying Charybdis be heaving or the maid that 
ravages the Sicihan deep," how the furious Adriatic 
aids thy course, whether the Carpathian be at peace, 
and with what breeze the sea-nymph be wafting 
thee, that once smiled on the cunning of the Tyrian 
bull ? ^ But I have deserved to mourn : for why, 
when thou wert bound for the wars, went I not with 
thee, an unwearied traveller, to unknown India and 
Cimmerian gloom ? " By my patron's warlike banner 
had I been standing, were it weapon or bridle thou 
wert holding, or whether thou wert giving laws to 
armed peoples, present if not to share, at least to 
admire thy deeds. If Phoenix whom great Achilles 
honoured came long ago to the Ilian shore and 
Thymbraean Troy, though not a warrior nor bound 
by oath to proud Atrides, why is my affection 
cowardly ? But my loyal thoughts shall be ever with 
thee, and my prayers shall follow thy sails to distant 

Isis, once stalled in Phoroneus' caves, now queen 
of Pharos and a deity of the breathless East, welcome 
with sound of many a sistrum <^ the Mareotic bark, 
and gently with thine own hand lead the peerless 
youth, on whom the Latian prince hath bestowed 
the standards of the East and the bridling of the 
cohorts of Palestine,^ through festal gate and sacred 
haven and the cities of thy land. Under thy protec- 
tion may he learn whence comes the fruitful licence of 
marshy Nile, why the waters abate and are hemmed 
within the banks that the Cecropian bird has coated 

turned into a heifer. Phoroneus was a former king of 
Argos. ^ i.e., a command on the Syrian front. 


ST ATI us 

Cecropio stagnata luto, cur in^ida Memphis, 110 

curve Therapnaei lasciviat ora Canopi, 
cur servet Pharias Lethaeus ianitor aras, 
vilia cur niagnos aequent animalia divos ; 
quae sibi praesternat \'ivax altaria Phoenix, 
quos dignetur agros aut quo se gurgite Nili 115 

mergat adoratus trepidis pastoribus Apis, 
due et ad Emathios manes, ubi belliger urbis 
conditor Hyblaeo perfusus nectare durat, 
anguiferamque domum, blando qua mersa veneno^ 
Actias Ausonias fugit Cleopatra catenas. 120 

usque et in AssjTias sedes mandataque castra 
prosequere et Marti iuvenem, dea, trade Latino, 
nee novus hospes erit : puer his sudavit in ar\-is 
notus adhuc tantum maioris lumine^ cla%i, 
iam tamen et turmas facih praevertere g}TO 125 

fortis et Eoas iaculo damnare sagittas. 
Ergo erit ilia dies, qua te maiora daturus 

^ qua mersa veneno 5" : quaqua m. v. M, morsa Heinsius. 
^ lumine Nohl : numine M : munere ff". 

" Pliny, N.H. x. 94, in speaking of swallows says that 
their nests prevent the Nile from overflowing for the extent 
of about a furlong : "in Aegypti Heracleotico ostio molem 
continuatione nidorum evaganti Nilo inexpugnabilem op- 
ponunt," etc.. and " insula sacra Isidi, quam ne laceret 
amnis, muniunt opere, palea et stramento rostrum eius 
firmantes," " on the Heracleotic mouth of the Nile they 
oppose an unshakable barrier to the river-floods," and " an 
island sacred to Isis, which they fortify by their labour, lest 
the river hurt it, strengthening its headland m ith litter and 
straw." Cecropian, i.f. Athenian, from Procne, daughter 
of Pandion, king of Athens, turned into a swallow. 

* "invida," perhaps to be explained by Juv. xv. 33, 
" inter finitimos vetus atque antiqua simultas," " neighbours' 
quarrel." Note the etjmology again, Memphis from 
fie/xcpeadai to blame ! 


SILVAE, III. 11. 110-127 

with clay 5*^ why Memphis is jealous,'' why the shore of 
Therapnean Canopus " makes wanton revel, why the 
warden of Lethe '^ guards the Pharian shrines, why 
vile beasts are held equal to mighty gods ; <^ what 
altars the long-lived Phoenix prepares for his own 
death, what fields Apis,/ adored by trembhng shep- 
herds, deigns to graze, and in what waters of Nile 
he bathes. Lead him also to the Emathian tomb,» 
where steeped in nectar of Hybla abides the warrior 
founder of the city, and to the serpent-haunted 
palace where, sunk in lulling poison, Cleopatra of 
Actian story escaped Ausonian chains. Escort the 
youth even to his Assyrian station and the appointed 
camp, O goddess, and deliver him to the Roman god 
of war. No stranger will he be there ; as a boy he 
laboured in those fields, known as yet only by his 
gleaming laticlave,'* though already strong to out- 
strip the squadrons in nimble wheeling flight, and 
with his javeUn to discredit the arrows of the East.* 
Therefore that day will come when Caesar, to give 

"A luxurious bathing-resort: "Therapnaean," from 
Therapnae in Laconia, because Canopus, helmsman of Mene- 
laus, king of Sparta, was buried there. 

"* Probablj' Anubis is here identified with Cerberus. 

* e.g. ibis, crocodile, cat, dog, snake, and others, see 
Herod, ii. 65 ; Cic. Tusc. Disp. v. 27. 

•'' The sacred ox, called Epaphus by the Greeks, the son 
of lo by Zeus, worshipped by the Egyptians, see Herod, 
iii. 27. 

" i.e., of Alexander the Great at Alexandria. 

'^ Maecius would have worn the " tunica laticlavia " as a 
young son of a noble family ; it was a tunic with a broad 
purple band inwoven, extending from the neck down across 
the chest. (The angusticlave was a tunic with two narrow 
purple stripes in place of the one broad one.) 

' i.e., he could hurl his javelin farther than the flight of 
an arrow ; for their relative ranges see Theb. vi. 354 n. 


ST ATI us 

Caesar ab emerito iubeat discedere hello, 
at nos hoc iterum stantes in litore vastos 
cernemus fluctus aliasque rogabimus auras. 130 

o turn quantus ego aut quanta votiva moveho 
plectra lyra ! cum me magna cervice ligatum 
attolles umeris atque in niea pectora primum 
incumhes e puppe novus servataque reddes 
colloquia inque vicem medios narrabimus annos, 135 
tu rapidum Euphraten et regia Bactra saerasque 
antiquae Bahylonis opes et Zeugma, Latinae 
pacis iter, quam^ dulce nemus florentis Idymes, 
quo pretiosa Tyros rubeat, quo^ purpura suco 
Sidoniis iterata cadis,^ ubi germine primum 140 

Candida felices sudent opohalsama virgae : 
ast ego, devictis dederim quae busta Pelasgis 
quaeve laboratas claudat mihi pagina Thebas. 



Summa deum, Pietas, cuius gratissima caelo 
rara profanatas inspeetant numina terras, 

^ quam Baehrens : qua M. 

" quo . . . quo Gronovius : qua . . . qua M. 

* cadis Gronovius : vadis M. 

" Where the Euphrates was usually crossed by the Roman 
armies. " Zeugma " means a "joining," " yoking." " pacis," 
because their object was to maintain the "pax Romana." 

* "iterata," usually known as the "dibapha" (twice 
dipped), described by Pliny, N.H. xxi. 45. 

" Burial of the Pelasgi ( = Argives), see Theb. xii. 105; 
the last line seems to point to some perplexity on Statius's 
part as to how he would bring his epic to a close. 

■* Duty is addressed as though identified with Astraea, as 
again v. 2. 92, 3. 89 ; cf. Theb. xi. 457. 


SILVAE, III. II. 128— III. 2 

thee a nobler prize, shall bid thee return from the 
warfare thou hast ended, and I standing again upon 
tliis shore shall view the mighty waves and pray for 
other breezes. How proud then shall I be ! How 
bravely shall I sound my votive lyre ! when you lift 
me to your shoulders and I cling about your stalwart 
neck, and you, fresh from the ship, fall first upon 
my breast, and give me all your stored-up converse, 
and in turn we tell the story of the years between, 
you of rapid Euphrates and royal Bactra and the 
sacred wealth of ancient Babylon, and of Zeugma,*' 
the way of the Peace of Rome ; how sweet is Idume's 
luxuriant grove, with what dye costly Tyre glows 
scai'let, and the purple, twice plunged in Sidonian 
vats,** is stained, where the fruitful sprays first exude 
the shining spikenard from the bud : while I relate 
what burial I have granted to the conquered 
Pelasgians, and rehearse the page that closes the 
laboured tale of Thebes.'' 


In this Epicedion Statins has given the chief place to the 
story of the dead mail's career, more in tlie manner of a 
" laudatio " ; the opening is also varied, cf. on ii. 6. Claudius 
Etruscus, the father of tJie man whom Statins is addressing 
in this poem, was born a slave at Smyrna, but rapidly rose from 
post to post in the Imperial household till he finally became 
Secretary of Finances nnder Nero ; he was made a Knight 
by Vespasian, and after a brief disgrace nnder Domitian died 
at about the age o/90. His wife was of noble birth. Martial 
lorote a poem on the same occasion (vii. 40). 

Duty,'' most high among gods, whose heaven- 
favoured deity rarely beholds the guilty earth, come 



hue \dttata comam niveoque insignis amictu, 
qualis adhuc praesens nuUaque expulsa nocentum 
fraude rudes populos atque aurea regna colebas, 5 
mitibus exsequiis ades et lugentis Etrusci 
cerne pios fletus laudataque lumina terge. 
nam quis inexpleto rumpentem pectora que&tu 
complexumque rogos incumbentenique favillis 
aspiciens non aut primaevae funera plangi 10 

coniugis aut nati modo pubescentia credat 
ora rapi flammis ? pater est, qui fletur. adeste 
dique honiinesque sacris. procul hinc, procul ite 

si cui corde nefas taciturn fessique senectus 
longa patris, si quis pulsatae conscius uniquam^ 15 
matris et inferna rigidum timet Aeacon urna : 
insontes castosque voco. tenet ecce seniles 
leniter implicitos vultus sanctamque parentis 
canitiem spargit lacrimis animaeque supremum 
frigus amat ; celeres genitoris filius annos 20 

— mira fides ! — nigrasque putat properasse sorores. 
exsultent placidi Lethaea ad flumina manes, 
Elysiae gaudete domus ; date serta per aras 
festaque pallentes hilarent altaria lucos. 
felix, haec,^ nimium felix plorataque nato 25 

umbra venit. longe Furiarum sibila, longe 
tergeminus custos, penitus via longa patescat 
manibus egi'egiis. eat horrendumque silentis 
accedat domim solium gratesque supremas 
perferat et totidem iuveni roget anxius annos. 30 

^ unquam M : anguem Postgate. 
^ haec Slater : et M : a, heu, o, en edd. 

" Cerberus. 


hither with fillets on thy hair and adorned with snow- 
white robe, as when still a present goddess, before 
the violence of sinful men had driven thee away, 
thou didst dwell among innocent folk in a reign of 
gold ; come to these quiet obsequies, and look upon 
the duteous tears of sorrowing Etruscus, and brush 
them from his eyes with words of praise. For who 
that saw him bursting his heart with unsatisfied 
lament and embracing the pyre and bending o'er 
the ashes would not think that it was a young wife 
whose death he mourned, or a son whose face just 
growing into manhood the flames were devouring ? 
But it is a father whom he weeps. Come, gods and 
men, to the holy rites. Begone, begone, ye wicked, 
all in whose hearts is a crime unspoken, any who 
deems his aged sire has lived too long, or, conscious 
of ever having struck his mother, fears the urn of 
unbending Aeacus in the world below : 'tis the pure 
and guiltless I invite. Lo ! gently in his arms he 
holds the aged face and lets his tears bedew the 
sacred white hairs of his sire, and lovingly gathers 
the last cold breath ; marvellous, yet true ! a son is 
thinking that his father's life is swiftly flown, that 
the black Sisters have brought the end too soon. 
Exult, ye placid ghosts by the streams of Lethe, 
rejoice, Elysian abodes ! enwreathe the shrines, and 
let festal altars gladden the pale groves. 'Tis a 
happy shade that is coming, ay, too happy, for his 
son laments him. Avaunt, ye hissing Furies, avaunt 
the threefold guardian <* ! let the long road lie clear 
for peerless spirits. Let him come, and approach 
the awful throne of the silent monarch and pay his 
last due of gratitude and anxiously request for his 
son as long a life. 


ST ATI us 

Macte pio gemitu ! dabimus solacia dignis 
luctibus Aoniasque tuo sacrabimus ultro 
inferias, Etrusce, seni ! tu largus Eoa 
germina, tu messes Cilicumque Arabumque superbas 
merge rogis ; ferat ignis opes heredis et alto 35 

aggere missuri nitido pia nubila caelo 
stipentur cineres : nos non arsura feremus 
munera, venturosque tuus durabit in annos 
me monstrante dolor, neque enim mihi flere parentem 
ignotum, similis gemui proiectus ad ignem. 40 

ille mihi tua damna dies compescere cantu 
suadet : et ipse tuli quos nunc tibi confero questus. 

Non tibi clara quidem, senior placidissime, gentis 
linea nee proavis demissum stemma, sed ingens 
supplevit fortuna genus culpamque parentum 45 

occuluit. nee enim dominos de plebe tuUsti, 
sed quibus occasus pariter famulantur et ortus. 
nee pudor iste tibi : quid enim terrisque poloque 
parendi sine lege manet ? vice cuncta reguntur^ 
alternisque premunt. propriis sub regibus omnis 50 
terra ; premit felix regum diademata Roma ; 
banc ducibus frenare datum ; mox crescit in illos 
imperium superis. sed habent et numina legem : 
servit et astrorum velox chorus et vaga servit 
luna nee iniussae totiens redit orbita lucis, 55 

et — modo si fas est aequare iacentia summis — 

^ reguntur Gevart : geruntur J/. 

" Statius now addresses the father. At 1. 85 he again 

SILVAE, III. III. 31-56 

A blessing on thy pious moans ! I will bring solace 
for a grief so worthy, and unbidden pay thy sire, 
Etruscus, an offering of song. Do thou with lavish 
hand plunge Eastern incense in the flames, and the 
proud harvests of Cilicia and Araby ; let the fire 
consume thy heritage of wealth ; heap high the burn- 
ing mass that shall waft duteous clouds to the bright 
sky. My gift is not for burning, but my record of 
thy grief shall endure through the years to come. 
For I too know what it is to mourn a father ; I too 
have groaned prostrate before the pyre. That day 
bids me assuage tjiy loss by song ; the lament I 
offer thee now was once my own. 

No brilliant lineage indeed was thine,** serene old 
man, no descent traced down from distant ancestors, 
but high fortune made good thy birth and hid the 
blemish of thy parentage. For thy masters were 
not of common stock, but those to whom East and 
West are alike in thrall. No shame is that servitude 
to thee ; ** for what in heaven and earth remains 
unbound by the law of obedience ? All things in 
turn are ruled and in turn hold sway. To its own 
monarch every land is subject : fortunate Rome 
lords it o'er monarchs' crowns : 'tis her rulers' duty 
to bridle Rome : o'er these in turn rises the sove- 
reignty of heaven. But even deities have their laws : 
in thraldom is the swift choir of the stars, in thraldom 
is the wandering moon, not unbidden is the light 
whose path so oft returns. And, if only it be not 
a sin to compare the lowly with the highest, the 

speaks of him in the 3rd person, but returns to the !3nd 
person at 1. 106. 

* More familiar parallels to this idea are Soph. Ajax, 
669 ff. and Hor. Od. iii. 1. 5. 



pertulit et saevi Tirynthius horrida regis 
pacta, nee erubuit famulantis fistula Phoebi. 

Sed neque barbarieis Latio transniissus ab oris : 
Smyrna tibi gentile solum potusque verendo 60 

fonte Meles Hermique vadum, quo Lydius intrat 
Bacchus et aurato reficit sua cornua limo. 
laeta dehinc series variisque ex ordine curis 
auctus honos ; semperque gradi prope numina, semper 
Gaesareum coluisse latus sacrisque deorum 65 

arcanis haerere datum. Tibereia primum 
aula tibi vixdum ora nova mutante iuventa 
panditur — hie annis multa super indole victis 
libertas oblata venit — nee proximus heres, 
immitis quamquam et Furiis agitatus, abegit. 70 

huic^ et in Arctoas tenuis comes usque pruinas 
terribilem adfatu passus visuque tyrannum 
immanemque suis, ut qui metuenda ferarum 
corda domant mersasque iubent iam sanguine tacto 
reddere ab ore manus et nulla \ivere praeda. 75 

praecipuos sed enim merito surrexit^ in actus 
nondum stelligerum senior dimissus in axem 
Claudius et longo^ transmittit habere nepoti. 

^ huic Pol. : bine M: hunc Aldine. 

2 surrexit M : subvexit Pol. {but cf. Tbeb. 11. 27). 

* longo M : longum Gevart. 

" Hercules served King Eurystheus of Argos, Apollo was 
shepherd (hence " fistula ") to Admetus, king of Thessaly. 

* Because Homer was born on its banks. 

" The Dionysus of the Indian legends has a bull's horns ; 
the same Oriental figure appears In Theb. iv. 389, " Hermi 
de fontibus aureus exis." 

"* " latus " Is often used in this sense ; cf. the Papal legate 
"a latere." 

* Caligula. The next line seems to be a reference to the 


SILVAE, III. III. 57-78 

Tirynthian also perfonned his dread covenant with 
the cruel king, nor did bondage shame the pipe of 

Butneitherwert thou sent to Latiumfrom barbarous 
shores : Smyrna was thy native soil, and thou didst 
drink the honoured ^ springs of Meles and of Hermus' 
stream, where Lydian Bacchus bathes and tricks 
his horns anew in the golden silt." Thereafter a 
prosperous career was thine, and divers offices in due 
succession increased thy dignity : it was thy privilege 
ever to walk near divinities, ever to be close to 
Caesar's person <* and to share the holy secrets of the 
gods. The palace of Tiberius first was opened to 
thee while early manhood scarce changed as yet thy 
boyish countenance ; here — since thy varied gifts 
surpassed thy years — freedom came to thee un- 
sought ; nor did the next heir,^ though fierce and 
Fury-haunted, banish thee. In his train didst thou 
go, frail as thou wert, even to the frozen North, and 
endure the tyrant terrible in word and look and cruel 
to his subjects, as those who tame the dread rage of 
beasts and command them, though they have tasted 
blood, to let go the hand thrust down their jaws, and 
to live without need of prey. But Claudius for thy 
merit raised thee to highest office in his old age,^ 
ere he was summoned to the starry vault, and gave 
thee over to the keeping of his nephew's late-born 

expedition to Britain, which ended so ridiculously (Suet. 
Cal. 46). 

f This seems the most satisfactory meaning that can be 
got for " longo " ; others are " long-reigning," for which 
" longus exul " of Theb. 11. 114, Is not a very good parallel, 
and " the long series of descendants," which could only refer 
to the Flavians. Nero succeeded at the age of seventeen. 
He was the son of Claudius's niece Agrippina. 


ST ATI us 

quis superos metuens pariter tot templa, tot aras 
promeruisse datur ? summi Io\ds aliger Areas 80 

nuntius ; imbrifera potitur Thaumantide luno ; 
stat celer obsequio iussa ad Neptunia Triton : 
tu totiens mutata ducum iuga rite tulisti 
integer, inque omni felix tua cumba profundo. 

lamque piam lux alta domum praecelsaque toto 85 
intravit Fortuna gradu ; iam creditur uni 
sanctarum digestus opum partaeque per omnis 
divitiae populos magnique impendia niundi. 
quicquid ab auriferis eiectat Hiberia fossis, 
Dalmatico quod monte nitet, quod messibus Afris 90 
verritur, aestiferi quicquid terit area Nili, 
quodque legit mersus pelagi scrutator Eoi, 
et Lacedaemonii pecuaria culta Galaesi 
perspicuaeque nives Massylaque robora et Indi 
dentis honos : uni parent commissa ministro, 95 

quae Boreas quaeque Eurus atrox, quae nubilus 

invehit : hibernos citius numeraveris imbres 
silvarumque comas, vigil idem animique sagacis^ 
et citus^ evolvit quantum Romana sub omni 
pila die quantumque tribus, quid templa, quid alti 100 
undarum cursus, quid propugnacula poscant 

^ vigil idem animique sagacis Leo : vigilite animaeque 
sagacis M, variously emended ; usque, iste, ipse edd., 
vigili tu animoque sagaci Peyrared (evolvis 99) etc. 

* et citus Salmashis : exitus 3/ : anxius Hirschfeld. 

" Mercury and Iris. 

* See Pliny, N.H. xxxiii. 78, for the mines of Spain ; the 
gold-mines of Dalmatia are also mentioned iv. 7. 13 ; cf. 
also the simile in Theb. vi. 880. Since Tiberius mining 
rights were vested in the Emperor. The Imperial fiscus also 
derived income from African wheat, from pearl-fisheries, 


SILVAE, III. III. 79 101 

son. Who that fears the gods was ever suffered to 
serve so many temples, so many altars ? The winged 
Arcadian is the messenger of supreme Jove ; Juno 
hath power over the rain-bringing Thaumantian ; " 
Triton, swift to obey, stands ready at Neptune's 
bidding : thou hast duly borne unharmed the yoke 
of princes, changed so many times, and thy httle 
boat has weathered every sea. 

And now from on high a light illumined his loyal 
liome, and Fortune towering to her loftiest entered 
apace. Now was entrusted to him alone the con- 
trolling of the sacred treasure, wealth drawn from 
every race, the revenue of the mighty world. All 
that Iberia hews from out her gold-mines,*" the 
glittering metal of Dalmatian hills, the produce of 
African harvests : all that is threshed on the floors 
of sultry Nile, or gathered by the divers who search 
the Eastern seas : the tended flocks of Lacedae- 
monian Galaesus, frozen crystals, Massylian citron- 
wood, the glory of the Indian tusk : all is committed 
to his charge and subject to him alone, all that the 
North wind and fierce East wind and the cloudy 
South bring with them ; sooner would you count the 
winter rains or forest leaves. Watchful too is he and 
shrewd of mind, and quick to reckon what the Roman 
arms beneath every sky demand, how much the 
tribes " and the temples, how much the lofty aque- 

and considerable wealth from Egypt, which was the Em- 
peror's own domain. 

" "tribus," probably the supplies of free corn, distributed 
by tribes ; " propugn. aeq.," perhaps the care of harbours 
rather than fortresses; "quod domini," etc., Domitian had 
recently built a new palace on the Palatine ; " quae divum," 
etc., the general supervision of statues of the Emperors 
{— "divum "), and of the Mint. 


ST ATI us 

aequoris aut longe series porreeta \darum ; 
quod domini celsis niteat laquearibus aurum, 
quae divum in vultus igni formanda liquescat 
massa, quid Ausoniae scriptura crepet igne Monetae, 
hinc tibi rara quies animoque exclusa voluptas, 106 
exiguaeque dapes et nuraquam laesa profundo 
eura mero ; sed iura tamen genialia cordi 
et mentem vincire toris ae iungere festa 
conubia et fidos domino genuisse clientes. 110 

Quis sublime genus formamque insignis Etruscae 
neseiat ? haud quamquam proprio mihi cognita visu, 
sed decus eximium famae par reddit imago, 
vultibus et similis^ natorum gratia monstrat. 
nee vulgare genus ; fasces summamque curulem 115 
frater et Ausonios enses mandataque fidus 
signa tulit, cum prima truces amentia Dacos 
impulit et magno gens est damnata triumpho. 
sic quicquid patrio cessatum a sanguine, mater 
reddidit, obscurumque latus clarescere vidit 120 

conubio gavisa domus. nee pignora longe ; 
quippe bis ad partus venit Lucina manuque 
ipsa levi gra\-idos tetigit fecunda labores. 
feUx a ! si longa dies, si cernere vultus 
natorum viridesque genas tibi iusta dedissent 125 
stamina ! sed media cecidere abrupta iuventa 
gaudia, florentesque manu scidit Atropos annos ; 
quaUa pallentes decUnant lilia culmos 

^ vultibus et similis Phillimore : vultibus et sibimet similis 
M: et sibimet similis Skutsch, Krohn. 

" i.e., the consulship. 

* Domitian triumphed in 85, though without having 
obtained any real success. 

" The goddess of child-birth, lit. that first brings light to 
the infant's eyes ; identified with Juno later. 


SILVAE, III. III. 102-128 

ducts, and the fortresses by the sea, or the far-flung 
hnes of road ; what wealth of gold gleams on the 
high ceilings of our prince, what weight of ore must 
be melted in the fire and shaped into the countenance 
of gods, how much shall ring when stamped in the 
fiery heat of Ausonia's mint. Therefore hadst thou 
but scant repose, thy mind took no thought for 
pleasure, thy feasting was meagre and thy cares 
never assuaged by plenteous draughts of wine ; yet 
thou hadst joy in the ties of marriage, in binding 
thy heart with chains of love, in the union of festal 
wedlock, and in begetting faithful clients for thy 

Who can but know the high birth and loveliness of 
fair Etrusca ? Never with my own eyes have I 
beheld her, yet the trusty image of fame reflects her 
peerless beauty, and a like charm of countenance in 
her sons reveals it. No common birth was hers ; 
her brother wielded the rods and the highest curule 
power,« and faithfully led Ausonian swordsmen and 
the standards entrusted to him, when frenzy first 
inspired the ruthless Dacians, and their race was 
doomed to afford us a mighty triumph.^ Thus what- 
soe'er was lacking in the father's blood was made 
good by the mother, and the household rejoicing in 
the union saw its obscurity turned to brightness. 
Children too were nigh at hand ; twice was Lucina " 
present at the birth and deftly with fruitful hand 
eased the pain of travail. Ah ! happy, had length 
of days and a due measure of years suffered thee to 
behold the faces of thy children and the bloom of 
youth upon their cheeks ! but in the midst of thy 
prime those joys fell shattered, and Atropos roughly 
tore the thread of flourishing life ; even so do lilies 

VOL.1 N 177 

ST ATI us 

pubentesque rosae primos moriuntur ad austros, 

aut ubi verna novis exspirat purpura pratis. 130 

ilia sagittiferi circumvolitastis, Amores, 

funera maternoque rogos unxistis amomo ; 

nee modus aut pennis laeeris aut erinibus ignem 

spargere, colleetaeque pyram struxere pharetrae. 

quas tune inferias aut quae lamenta dedisses 135 

maternis, Etrusee, rogis, qui funera patris 

baud matura putas atque hos pius ingemis annos ! 

Ilium et qui nutu superas nune temperat arces, 
progeniem claram terris partitus et astris, 
laetus Idumaei donavit honore triumphi 140 

dignatusque loco victricis et ordine pompae 
non vetuit, tenuesque nihil minuere parentes. 
atque idem in cuneos populo deduxit equestres 
mutavitque genus laevaeque ignobile ferrum 
exuit et celso natorum aequavit honorem.^ 145 

dextra bis octonis fluxerunt saecula lustris, 
atque aevi sine nube tenor, quam dives in usus 
natorum totoque volens excedere censu, 
testis adhuc largi nitor inde adsuetus Etrusci, 
cui tua non humilis dedit indulgentia mores. 150 

hunc siquidem amplexu semper revocante tenebas 
blandus et imperio numquam pater ; huius honori 
pronior ipse etiam gaudebat cedere frater. 

Quas tibi devoti iuvenes pro patre renato, 
summe ducum, grates, aut quae pia vota rependunt ! 

^ celso . . . honorem Krohn : celso . . . honore M : celse . . . 
honori Salmasius. 

" Vespasian, whose sons were Titus [d. 81) and Domitian. 

'' Here= Judaean ; the reference is to the revolt of the 
Jews that culminated in the destruction of Jerusalem by 

" The gold ring and the fourteen seats above the orchestra 
were privileges of the Equestrian order. 


SILVAE, III. III. 129-155 

droop pale heads and roses die at the first South 
wind, or on fresh meadows the purple flower of spring 
withers away. Around that funeral train did ye 
hover, ye arrow-bearing Loves, and anoint the bier 
with your mother's balm ; freely did ye scatter your 
torn hair and feathers on the flames, and your 
quivers were heaped to build the pyre. What 
offerings, what tears wouldest thou have paid at thy 
mother's grave, Etruscus, who deemest thy father's 
death untimely and mournest witli true aifection for 
his years ! 

He who with his nod now sways the heights of 
heaven,'* and has given of his glorious offspring to 
earth and sky alike, gladly granted to him the 
honour of an Idumaean '' triumph, and deeming him 
worthy the distinction and rank that the procession 
of victory brings forbade it not, nor did obscurity of 
birth diminish his renown.*^ He too led him down to 
the benches of the knights from among the people, 
and ennobled him and took off the humble iron ring 
and made him equal to his sons in lofty eminence. 
Twice eight lustres of prosperity flowed by, and his 
life's course was without a cloud. How lavish he was 
in the service of his sons, how willing to strip himself 
of all his wealth, the wonted splendour of Etruscus 
from that day to this bears witness, for it was thy 
indulgence that gave him his lordly mien. Thou 
didst clasp him in an embrace that ever called him 
back to tliee, and didst rule by the love and not the 
sternness of a father ; to him even liis brother 
rejoiced to give way, more anxious for his renown 
than for his own. 

What gratitude, greatest of princes, what loyal 
vows do these youths, devoted to thy service, pay 



tu — seu tarda situ rebusque exhausta senectus 156 
erravit seu blanda diu Fortuna regressum 
maluit — attoiiituni et venturi fulminis ictus 
horrentem tonitru tantum lenique procella 
contentus monuisse senem ; cumque horrida supra 
aequora curarum socius procul Itala rura 161 

linqueret, hie molles Campani litoris oras 
et Diomedeas concedere iussus in arces 
atque hospes, non exsul, erat. nee longa moratus 
Romuleum reseras iterum, Germanice, limen 165 

maerentemque foves inclinatosque penates 
erigis. baud mirum, ductor placidissime, quando 
haec est quae victis parcentia foedera Cattis 
quaeque suum Dacis donat dementia montem, 
quae modo Marcomanos post horrida bella vagosque 
Sauromatas Latio non est dignata triumpho. 171 

lamque in fine dies et inexorabile pensum 
deficit, hie maesti pietas me poscit Etrusci, 
qualia nee Siculae moderantur carmina rupes 
nee fati iam certus olor saevique marita 175 

Tereos. heu quantis lassantem braehia vidi 
planctibus et prono fusum super oscula vultu ! 
vix famuli eomitesque tenent, vix arduus ignis 
summovet. baud ahter gemuit per Sunia^ Theseus 
htora,^ qui falsis deceperat Aegea vehs. 180 

tunc immane gemens foedatusque ora tepentes 

^ per Sunia Bolster: periuria J/: per inania Burslan: 
per Ionia Phillimore. 

^ litora M : litore S", and keep periuria. 

" Diomede was supposed by legend to have come to S. 
Italy and founded Arpi in Apulia. 

'' Campaign against the Chatti, 83, unsuccessful fighting 
against Dacians and Marcomanni about 88, Sarmatian war, 
probably successful but no triumph, 92. 


SILVAE, III. III. 156-181 

thee for theii* sire's rebirth ! For whether he erred 
through age, fatigued by decay and exhausted by 
affairs, or whether P'ortune so long favourable now 
had a mind to leave him, thou wert content, while in 
shuddering dismay he awaited the coming lightning- 
stroke, to warn the old man by thunder alone and 
by a storm that spared him ; and Avhen the partner 
of his cares left far behind him the fields of Italy and 
crossed the raging seas, he was bidden retire to 
Campania's mild coast and the towers of Diomede,'* 
a stranger but no exile. Nor didst thou wait long, 
Germanicus, before thou didst once more unbar the 
gates of Romulus and console his grief and raise again 
the stricken house. No wonder, most tranquil prince ; 
for this is that clemency that gives terms of mercy to 
the conquered Catti ^ and restores their mountain to 
the Dacians ; that lately though after a fierce struggle 
deigned not that the Marcomanni and the Sarma- 
tian Nomads should furnish forth a Roman triumph. 
And now his day is ended, and the inexorable 
thread runs out. The sorrowing heart of Etruscus 
asks me for a dirge, such as even the cliffs of Sicily 
re-echoed not, nor doomed swan ever sang nor cruel 
Tereus' bride .'^ Ah ! with what violent beating of 
his breast did I see him wearying his arms, flung 
prostrate with face bowed down to kiss his sire ! 
Scarce can his friends and servants hold him, scarce 
do the towering flames make him withdraw. Not 
otherwise did Theseus on the Sunian shore mourn 
Aegeus whom his false sails had deceived. Then 
fearfully groaning, with disfiguring marks upon his 

" The Sirens, and the nightingale (Philomela, ravished by 
Tereus) are referred to. 


ST ATI us 

adfatur cineres : " cur nos, fidissime, linquis 
Fortuna redeunte, pater ? modo numina magni 
praesidis atque breves superuni placa\imus iras, 
nee frueris tantique orbatus muneris usu 185 

ad manes, ingrate, fugis. nee flectere Parcas 
aut placare malae datur aspera numina Lethes ? 
felix, cui magna patrem cer\iee vehenti 
sacra Mycenaeae patuit reverentia flammae ! 
quique tener saevis genitorem Scipio Poenis 190 

abstulit et Lydi pietas temeraria Lausi. 
ergo et Thessalici coniunx pensare mariti 
funus et immitem potuit Styga \'incere supplex 
Thracius ? hoc quanto melius pro patre liceret ! 
non totus rapiere tamen, nee funera mittam 195 

longius ; hie manes, hie intra tecta tenebo : 
tu custos dominusque laris, tibi cuncta tuorum 
parebunt ; ego rite minor semperque secundus 
assiduas hbabo dapes et pocula sacris 
manibus effigiesque colam ; te lucida saxa, 200 

te similem doctae referet mihi hnea cerae, 
nunc ebur et fulvum vultus imitabitur aurum. 
inde \iam morum longaeque examina vitae 
adfatusque pios monituraque somnia poscam." 

Taha dicentem genitor dulcedine laeta 205 

audit et immites lente descendit ad umbras 
verbaque dilectae fert narraturus Etruscae. 

Salve supremum, senior mitissime patrum, 

" Aeneas who carried his father out of burning Troy : 
Mycenean= kindled by Greeks. 

'" At the battle of Ticinus, 218 b.c. 

" Son of Mezentius=: Virg. Aen. x. 786 sqq. 

^ Alcestis, wife of Admetus, and Orpheus, husband of 

SILVAE, III. III. 182-208 

face, he cries to the warm ashes : " Why, truest of 
fathers, dost thou leave us, when Fortune smiles once 
more ? Only of late did we assuage the godhead of 
our mighty prince and the brief anger of the gods, 
but thou, naught profiting, dost lose the enjoyment 
of a boon so great, and fleest, ungrateful, to the 
shades. And is it not granted to move the Fates, 
or appease the ruthless deities of deadly Lethe ? 
Happy he, before whom as he carried his father on 
stalwart shoulders the Grecian flames gave way in 
reverent awe ^ ! and Scipio too, who while yet a lad 
rescued his sire from the cruel Carthaginians * ; 
happy also the daring devotion of Lydian Lausus <^ ! 
Is it so, then, that the Thessalian consort could give 
her life to save her lord ? that the suppUant Thracian 
could defeat remorseless Styx ? '^ surely a father's 
life hath a juster claim ! Yet shalt thou not be 
wholly taken, nor will I send thy ashes far : here, 
here within the house will I keep thy shade. Thou 
art the guardian and master of the hearth, all tliat 
is thine shaU obey thee ; I will ever, as is right, 
be second, and hold a lesser place, and to thy sacred 
shade bring constant offering of meat and drink, and 
worship thy image ; shining marble and the cunning- 
lines of wax shall repeat thy likeness to me ; now 
ivoi-y, now tawny gold shall imitate thy features. 
There in thy long life's story will I seek a guide for 
conduct, and loving converse and dreams that bring 
good counsel." 

So he spoke, and liis father heard him with joy and 
gladness, and went down slowly to the pitiless shades, 
bearing the message to tell to his beloved Etrusca. 

Hail for the last time, aged sire, gentlest of fathers, 


ST ATI us 

supremumque vale, qui numquam sospite nato 
triste chaos maestique situs patiere sepulcri. 210 

semper odoratis spirabunt floribus arae, 
semper et Assyrios felix bibet urna liquores 
et lacrimas, qui maior honos. hie sacra htabit 
manibus eque tua tumulum tellure levabit. 
nostra quoque exemplo meritus tibi carmina sancit 
hoc etiam gaudens cinerem donasse sepulcro. 216 


Ite, comae, facilemque precor transcurrite pontum, 
ite coronato recubantes molliter auro ; 
ite, dabit cursus mitis Cytherea secundos 
placabitque notos, fors et de puppe timenda 
transferet inque sua ducet super aequora concha. 5 
accipe laudatos, iuvenis Phoebeie, crines, 
quos tibi Caesareus donat puer, accipe laetus 
intonsoque ostende patri. sine dulce nitentes 
comparet atque diu fratris putet esse Lyaei. 
forsan et ipse comae numquam labentis honorem 10 
praemetet atque alio clusum tibi ponet in auro. 

Pergame, pinifera multum fehcior Ida ! 

^ EARINI Pol. : lEHINI M. 

" Asclepius. 

SILVAE, III. III. 209— IV. 12 

and for the last time farewell ! Never while thy son 
lives shalt thou suffer the despair of Tartarus, or the 
sorrow of a grave forgotten. Ever shall thy altar 
exhale the scent of flowers, ever shall thy happy urn 
drink Assyrian perfumes, and tears, a greater honour. 
Thy son shall make sacrifice to thy spirit, and from 
thy own soil raise a monument to thee. My song 
too, won by his own M'orth, he dedicates to thee, 
glad to have given this sepulchre also to thy ashes. 


A poem upon the dedication of the tresses of the Emperor'' s 
faiwurite Earinus ; they were to he sent in a golden box to 
the temple of Asclepius at Pergamum, his birthplace. The 
dedication of hair was an ancient Greek custom {cf. Achilles 
in the Iliad), and should not be confused with the first clipping 
of the beard, for which see Petronius, 29, Suetonius, Nero, 
12, Juvenal, viii. 166. Martial has similar poems, ix. 16, 
17, 36. 

Speed, ye tresses, and may ocean smile upon your 
passage ! Speed, while ye softly rest upon the 
en\vreathed gold ! Speed onward, for gentle Venus 
will give you a fair voyage, and make the South 
winds tranquil, and perchance will take you fi-om the 
dangerous bark and convey you over the sea in her 
own shell. Accept, O son of Piioebus," these much- 
praised locks that Caesar's favourite presents to thee, 
accept them joyfully and show them to thy unshorn 
sire. Let him compai'e their beauteous sheen, and 
long deem them the tresses of his brother Lyaeus. 
Perchance too with his own hand he will shear a lock 
from his hair's unfailing glory, and enclose it for thee 
in other gold. 

Pergamus, more blest by far than pine-clad Ida, 



ilia licet sacrae placeat sibi nube^ rapinae 
— nempe dedit superis ilium, quern turbida semper 
luno videt refugitque manum neetarque recusat — , 
at tu grata deis pulchroque insignis alumno 16 

misisti Latio, placida quern fronte ministrum 
luppiter Ausonius pariter Romanaque luno 
aspiciunt et uterque probant. nee tanta potenti 
terrarum domino divum sine mente voluptas. 20 

Dicitur Idalios Erycis de vertice lucos 
dum petit et molles agitat Venus aurea cygnos, 
Pergameas intrasse domos, ubi maximus aegris 
auxiliator adest et festinantia sistens 
fata salutifero mitis deus incubat angui. 25 

hie puerum egregiae praeclarum sidere formae 
ipsius ante dei ludentem conspicit aras, 
ae primum subita paulum decepta figura 
natorum de plebe putat ; sed non erat illi 
arcus et ex umeris nullae fulgentibus umbrae. 30 

miratur puerile decus vultumque comasque 
aspiciens " tune Ausonias " ait " ibis ad arces, 
neglectus Veneri ? tu sordida tecta iugumque 
servitii vulgare feres ? procul absit : ego isti, 
quem meruit, formae dominum dabo. vade age 
mecum, 35 

vade, puer : ducam volucri per sidera curru 
donum immane duci ; nee te plebeia manebunt 
iura : Palatino famulus deberis amori. 
nil ego, nil, fateor, toto tam dulce sub orbe 
aut vidi aut genui. cedet tibi Latmius^ ultro 40 

^ nube M : laude Markland: pube KoestUn. 
* Latmius Doni. : lamus M. 

" That of Ganymede. * Domitian and Domitia. 


SILVAE, III. IV. 13-40 

though she boast the cloud that veiled the heavenly 
rape " ! She verily gave to the gods him on whom 
Juno ever looks in WTath, and withdraws her hand 
and refuses the nectar ; but thou, beloved of heaven 
and famed for thy fair foster-son, hast sent to Latium 
him whom Ausonian Jove and Roman Juno ^ alike 
behold Avith favouring brow and both approve. Nor 
without the will of heaven was such pleasure vouch- 
safed to the lord of earth. 

Golden Venus, it is said, Mobile on her way from 
the height of Eryx to the Idalian groves, driving her 
gentle swans, entered the shrine at Pergamum, where 
the great helper of the sick is present to aid, and 
stays the hurrying fates and bends, a kindly deity, 
o'er his health-bringing snake. Here she espies a 
lad of wondrous, starlike beauty, playing before the 
very altars of the god. And at first deceived some- 
what by the sudden sight of his fair form she 
deems him one of her own sons ; but he had no 
bow nor shade of wings on his bright shoulders. She 
marvels at his boyish charm, and gazing at his 
features and his locks, " Shalt thou go," she cries, 
" to the Ausonian city, neglected by Venus, and 
endure a mean dwelling and slavery's base yoke ? 
May that never be ! I myself will find a master 
worthy of that beauty. Come, lad, come with me ! 
I will convey thee in my winged chariot through the 
air, a wondi'ous present to a monarch. No common 
servitude awaits thee : to the Palace art thou des- 
tined, to be the minister of love. Never, I declare, 
never the whole world over have I beheld or given 
birth to aught so fair.*' Straightway will the Latmian 

" Endymion, Attis, Narcissus, and Hylas are referred to 
in what follows. 



Sangariusque puer quemque irrita fontis imago 

et sterilis consumpsit amor, te caerula Nais 

mallet et adprensa traxisset fortius urna. 

tu, puer, ante omnis ; solus formosior ille, 

cui daberis." sic orsa leves secum ipsa per auras 45 

tollit olorinaque iubet considere biga. 

nee mora, iam Latii montes veterisque penates 

Evandri, quos mole nova pater incUtus orbis 

excolit et summis aequat Germanicus astris. 

tunc propior iam cura deae, quae forma capilUs 50 

optima, quae vestis roseos accendere vultus 

apta, quod in digitis, collo quod dignius aurum. 

norat caelestis oculos ducis ipsaque taedas 

iunxerat et plena dederat conubia dextra : 

sic ornat crines, Tyrios sic fundit amictus, 55 

dat radios ignemque suum. cessere priores 

deliciae famulumque greges ; hie pocula magno 

prima duci murrasque graves crystallaque portat 

candidiore manu : crescit nova gratia Baccho. 

Care puer superis, qui praelibare verendum 60 

nectar et ingentem totiens contingere dextram 
electus, quam nosse Getae, quam tangere Persae 
Armeniique Indique petunt ! o sidere dextro 
edite, multa tibi divum indulgentia favit ! 
olim etiam, ne prima genas lanugo nitentes 65 

carperet et pulchrae fuscaret gratia formae, 
ipse deus patriae celsam trans aequora liquit 
Pergamon. haud ulli puerum mollire potestas 

" i.e., the Palatine, where Domitian had recently built a 
new palace. 


SILVAE, III. IV. 41-68 

yield to thee, and the Sangarian youth, and he whom 
the fruitless image in the fountain and barren love 
consumed. The Nymph of the dark-blue water would 
have preferred tliee, and grasped thy urn and drawn 
thee down more boldly. Thou, boy, dost surpass 
them all ; only he to whom I shall give thee is more 
beautiful." So speaking she lifted him with her 
own hand through the light air, and bade him sit in 
the swan-drawn chariot. Straightway appeared the 
Latian hills * and the home of ancient Evander, which 
Germanicus, renowned lord of the world, is adorning 
with new structures and making as glorious as the 
stars above. Then more anxious grew the goddess, 
what tiring of the hair best suited him, what raiment 
was fittest to light up his rosy countenance, what 
gold was worthiest of his neck or his finger. She 
knew the Emperor's godlike glance : herself she had 
joined the torches of wedlock, and with lavish hand 
bestowed on him his bride. So decks she his hair, 
so drapes the Tyrian folds about him, and gives him 
her own radiant fire. The former favourites yield, 
and the crowds of slaves ; 'tis he who bears the 
first goblet to our great Chief, and the crystal cups 
and heavy murrhine vessels in hands that are fairer 
than they ; there is a sweeter savour in the wine. 

O youth beloved of heaven, who hast been chosen 
to sip first the sacred nectar, and so oft to touch the 
mighty hand that the Getae seek to know, and the 
Persians and Armenians and Indians to kiss ! O born 
under a favouring star, the gods have blest thee with 
much goodwill ! Once, lest the first down should 
spoil thy radiant cheeks and the charm of thy comeH- 
ness be darkened, tlie god of thy land left his lofty 
Pergamum and crossed the sea. None else was 



credita, sed tacita iuvenis Phoebeius arte 
leniter haud ullo concussum vulnere corpus^ 70 

de sexu transire iubet. tamen anxia curis 
mordetur puerique timet Cytherea dolores. 
nondum pulehra ducis dementia coeperat ortu 
intactos servare mares ; nunc frangere sexum 
atque hominem mutare nefas, gavisaque solos 75 

quos genuit natura videt, nee lege sinistra 
ferre timent famulae natorum pondera matres. 

Tu quoque nunc iuvenis, genitus si tardius esses, 
umbratusque genas et adultos fortior artus, 
non unum gaudens Phoebea ad limina munus 80 

misisses ; patrias nunc solus crinis ad oras 
naviget. hunc multo Paphie saturabat amonao, 
hunc nova tergemina pectebat Gratia dextra ; 
huic et purpurei cedet coma saucia Nisi, 
et quam Sperchio tumidus servabat Achilles. 85 

ipsi, cum primum niveam praecerpere frontem 
decretum est umerosque manu nudare nitentes, 
adcurrunt teneri Paphia cum matre volucres 
expediuntque comas et Serica pectore ponunt 
pallia, tunc iunctis crinem incidere sagittis 90 

atque auro gemmisque locant, rapit ipsa cadentem 
mater et arcanos iterat Cytherea liquores.^ 
tunc puer e turba, manibus qui forte supinis 
nobile gemmato speculum portaverat auro, 
" hoc quoque demus," ait; " patriis nee gratius uUum 
munus erit templis ipsoque potentius auro. 96 

^ corpus 5" : corpeus M, and Pol. (from P), whence 
Phillimore suspects corpus cum vulnere carpens. 

* arcanos . . . liquores 31: arcano saturat . . . liquore 

" See Suet. Dom. vii. * Venus. 

'^ The " purpureas senex " of Theh. i. 334, the king of 


SILVAE, III. IV. 69-96 

trusted to unman the lad, but the son of Phoebus 
with quiet skill gently bids his body lose its sex, 
unmarred by any wound. But Cytherea is devoured 
by anxious care, and fears lest the boy suffer. Not 
yet had the noble clemency of our prince * begun to 
keep our males untouched from birth ; to-day it is 
forbidden to destroy sex and violate manhood, and 
nature rejoices to behold none but as she brought 
them forth, nor does a harsh law make slave-mothers 
afraid to bear the burden of sons. 

Thou too, had thy birth been later, wert now a 
man, and with darkened cheeks and limbs full-grown 
and strong hadst gladly sent not one gift only to 
Phoebus' fane ; now let this single tress make voyage 
to thy country's shores. This did the Paphian'' 
steep in much balm, this did the fresh Graces comb 
with threefold hand ; to this will yield the ravished 
pvn'ple tress of Nisus,''and that which wx'athful Achilles 
kept for Spercheus. When first it was decreed to 
spoil tliat snow-white brow and by force to rob those 
gleaming shoulders, winged Cupids mth their Paphian 
mother flew to thee, and prepared thy locks and put 
a silken robe about thee. Then with joined arrows 
they cut off the tress, and laid it on gold and jewels, 
and Venus their mother seized it as it fell, and 
anointed it once and twice with her mystic essences. 
Then one of the troop of boys, who by chance had 
brought in his upturned hands a mirror finely set in 
jewelled gold, cried : " This too let us give, no gift 
could be more pleasing to his country's slirine, and 
more powerful even than gold. Do thou but gaze 

Megara, who had tlie purple lock on which depended the 
safety of his realm. He was betrayed by his daughter Scylla, 
who cut it off, 


ST ATI us 

tu modo fige aciem et vultus hie usque relinque." 
sic ait et speculum reclusit imagine rapta. 

At puer egregius tendens ad sidera palmas, 
" his mihi pro donis, hominum mitissime custos, 100 
si merui, longa dominum i*enovare iuventa 
atque orbi servare vehs ! hoc sidera mecum, 
hoc undae terraeque rogant. eat, oro, per annos 
IHacos PyHosque simul, propriosque penates 
gaudeat et secum Tarpeia senescere templa." 105 
sic ait et motas miratur Pergamos aras. 


Quid mihi maesta die, sociis quid noctibus, uxor, 
anxia pervigih ducis suspiria cura ? 
non metuo ne laesa fides aut pectore in isto 
alter amor ; nullis in te datur ire sagittis 
— audiat infesto licet hoc Rhamnusia vultu — , 5 

non datur. et si egomet patrio de litore raptus 
quattuor emeritis per bella, per aequora lustris 
errarem, tu mille procos intacta fugares, 
non intersectas commenta retexere telas, 
sed sine fraude palam, thalamosque armata negasses. 
die tamen, unde alta^ mihi fronte et nubila vultus ? 1 1 
anne quod Euboicos fessus remeare penates 
auguror et patria senium componere terra ? 


Ed. Prln. 

^ alta M : alia Aldine. 

" i.e.. Nemesis, from Rhamnus, a town in Attica, which 
possessed a statue of that goddess. 
* Like Penelope. 


SILVAE, III. IV. 97— V. 13 

tlierein, and leave thy likeness here for ever." He 
spoke, and shut the mirror, imprisoning the image. 

But the peerless boy stretched forth his hands to 
heaven, and cried : " Most gentle guardian of men, 
vouchsafe in reward for my gift, if I so deserve, to 
keep our prince in the freshness of undying youth, 
and save him for the world. The sky, the sea, and 
the earth join with me in my prayer. May he live, 
I pray, through the years of a Priam and a Nestor 
both, and rejoicing see his own home and the Tar- 
peian shi'ine grow to old age with liimself." He 
spoke, and Pergamus marvelled that her fanes were 


The poet pleads with his wife to fall in with his plan to 
return from Rome to Naples, his birthplace. 

Why are you sad, my wife, in the day-time and in 
the nights we share together ? Why do you sigh 
for anxiety and wakeful sorrow ? I have no fear lest 
it be unfaithfulness and a rival passion in your heart ; 
you are safe against all poisoned shafts, ay — though 
the Rhamnusian * hear my words and frown — safe 
indeed ! Even were I torn from my native shores 
and after twenty years of Avar and seafaring a 
wanderer still, you would repel unharmed a thousand 
wooers ; ^ nor would you plan to weave again the 
imravelled web, but would be frank and open, and 
even with arms deny your chamber. But say, whence 
comes this sullen brow, this clouded countenance ? 
Is it that, broken in health, I purpose to return to 
my P'uboean home, and to settle in old age on my 

VOL. I o ] 9-3 

ST ATI us 

cur hoc triste tibi ? certe lascivia corde^ 

nulla nee aut rapidi muleent te proelia Cirei 15 

aut intrat sensus elamosi turba theatri ; 

sed pi-obitas et opaea quies et sordida numquani 


Quas auteni eoniiteni te rapto per undas ? 
quamquam et si gelidas irem mansurus ad Arctos 
vel super Hesperiae vada caligantia Thyles 20 

aut septemgemini caput baud penetrabile Nili, 
hortarere vias. etenim tua — nempe benigna 
quam mihi sorte Venus iunctam florentibus annis 
servat et in senium — , tua, quae me vulnere primo 
intactum thalamis et adhuc iuvenile vagantem 25 
fixisti, tua frena libens docilisque recepi, 
et semel insertas non mutaturus habenas 
usque premo. tu me nitidis Albana ferentem 
dona comis sanctoque indutum Caesaris auro 
visceribus complexa tuis sertisque dedisti 30 

oscula anhela meis ; tu, cum Capitolia nostrae 
infitiata lyrae, saevum ingratumque dolebas^ 
mecum victa lovem ; tu procurrentia primis 
carmina nostra sonis totasque in murmure noctes 
aure rapis vigili ; longi tu sola laboris 35 

conscia, cumque tuis crevit mea Thebais annis. 
qualeni te nuper Stygias prope raptus ad umbras, 
cum iam Lethaeos audirem comminus amnes, 
aspexi, tenuique oculos iam morte cadentes. 
scilicet exhausti Lachesis mihi tempora fatl 40 

^ corde M : conVi Doin. 
^ dolebas iJom. : doleres M : dolere Krolin. 

" Domitian had a residence at Alba, wliere he held con- 
tests in music and poetry, at one of which Statins was 
victorious. It was a great disappointment that he failed at 


SILVAE, III. V. 14-40 

native soil ? Why does this cause you sorrow ? 
Certainly there is no wantonness in your heart ; the 
contests of the rushing Circus have no charm for 
you, no clamorous tlieatre-crowds find a place in 
your soul, but virtue and sheltered quiet and innocent 


But what are the waters o'er which I fain would 
liurry you with me ? although even if I went to dwell 
at the cold North, or beyond the misty seas of 
western Thule, or to the unattainable source of 
sevenfold Nile, you would be urging our departure. 
For it is you — you, whom Venus of her grace united 
to me in the springtime of my days, and in old age 
keeps mine, you, who while yet I roved in youth nor 
knew aught of love did transfix my heart — you it is 
whose rein in willing submission I obeyed, and yet 
press the bit once put within my mouth, without e'er 
thought of change. When the Alban wreath " 
adorned my gleaming locks, and I put on Caesar's 
sacred gold, you clasped me to your bosom, and 
showered breathless kisses on my garlands ; when 
the Capitol rejected my lyre, you shared my defeat 
and mourned the cruelty and ingratitude of Jove. 
Your wakeful ears caught the first notes of tlie songs 
I ventured and whole nights of murmured sound ; 
you alone knew of my long labour, and my Thebaid 
grew with the years of your companionship. When 
lately I was near snatched away to the Stygian 
shades, and already heard close at hand the stream 
of Lethe, how grateful wert thou to my sight ! My 
eyes, already failing in death, were stayed. Surely 
it was in pity of thee alone that Lachesis prolonged 

the more important Capitoline contest later on (3 1 ) : cf. 
also V. 3. 225 f. 


ST ATI us 

te tantum miserata dedit, superique potentes 
invidiam timuere tuam. post ista propinquum 
nunc iter optandosque sinus comes ire moraris ? 
heu ubi nota fides totque explorata per usus, 
qua veteres Latias Graias heroidas aequas ? 45 

isset ad Iliacas — quid enim deterret amantes ? — 
Penelope gavisa demos, si passus Ulixes ; 
questa est Aegiale, questa est Meliboea relinqui, 
et quam — quam saevi ! — ^ fecerunt maenada planctus. 
nee minor his tu nosse fidem vitanique maritis 50 

dedere. sic certe cineres umbramque priorem 
quaeris adhuc, sic exsequias amplexa canori 
coniugis ingentes iterasti pectore planctus, 
iam mea. nee pietas alia est tibi curaque natae, 
sic et mater amas, sic numquam corde recedit 55 

nata tuo, fixamque animi penetralibus imis 
nocte dieque tenes. non sic Trachinia^ nidos 
Alcyone, vernos non sic Philomela penates 
circuit amplectens animamque in pignora transfert. 
te^ nunc ilia tenet, viduo quod sola cubili 60 

otia iam pulchrae terit infecunda iuventae. 
sed venient, plenis venient conubia taedis. 
sic certe formaeque bonis animique meretur ; 
sive chelyn complexa petit seu voce paterna 

^ quamquam saevi M : quam — quam saevi — Pol. 

* Trachinia r : intracia M. 

^ te Phillimore : et M, heu Dom. 

" Aegiale, wife of Diomede and daughter of Adrastus, 
called Deipj'le in the Thehaid ; Meliboea is mentioned by 
Athenaeus as the wife of Theseus (Ath. p. 557), also by 
Servius {Aen. i. 724) as the wife of an Ephesian youth named 

* Laodamia, see ii. 7. 126 n. 


SILVAE, III. V. 41-64 

my cxliaustcd term of life, and the gods above 
feared thy displeasure. After that do you hesitate 
to go with me on this short journey to the desirable 
bay ? Ah ! where is that loyalty of yours, well- 
known and put to many a test, that makes you one 
with the heroines of Greece and Rome ? Penelope 
would have rejoiced to go to Ilium's town — for what 
deters true lovers ? — had Ulysses suffered her ; 
Aegiale chafed, and Meliboea chafed to be left 
behind," and she too whom grief — how savage ! — 
drove to frenzy.^ Yet you no less than these are 
loyal, and your life is devoted to your lord. Not 
otherwise indeed do you still seek the ashes and 
shade of your former husband,'' and embracing the 
relics of your poet-spouse renew your bitter heartfelt 
lamentation, even now that you are mine. As great 
too is your care and devotion for your daughter ; 
your love as a mother is as tender ; she is never 
absent from your heart, but the thought of her 
abides day and night in the inmost chambers of your 
being. Less lovingly does Alcyone of Trachis'' flutter 
round her nest, and Philomela cherish her vernal 
home, and give her young ones the warmth of her 
own life. 'Tis she now keeps you, because alone and 
unmarried she is wasting her youth and beauty in 
barren leisure. But wedlock will come, ay come 
Mith all its festal toi-ches. So assuredly does she 
deserve for her sweet face and virtuous mind ; 
whether she clasp and strike the lute, or with voice 
as tuneful as her sire's sing melodies that the Muses 

' It is not known who he was ; he, not Statins, was the 
father of her daughter. 

"^ Chaniyedljy Zeusintothesea-bird called dXM'w^; according 
to the fable, while the bird was nesting, the seas were all calm. 


ST ATI us 

discendum Musis sonat et mea carmina flectit, 65 
Candida seu molli diducit brachia motu : 
ingenium probitas artemque modestia vincit. 
nonne leves pueros, non te, Cytherea, pudebit 
hoc cessare decus ? nee tantum Roma iugales 
coneiliare toros festasque accendere taedas 70 

fertilis : et nostra generi tellure dabuntur. 
non adeo Vesuvinus apex et flammea diri 
montis hiems ti'epidas exhausit civibus urbes : 
stant populisque vigent. hinc auspice condita Phoebo 
tecta Dicarchei portusque et litora mundi 75 

hospita : at hinc magnae tractus imitantia Roniae 
quae Capys advectis implevit moenia Teucris. 
nostra quoque et propriis tenuis nee rara colonis 
Parthenope, cui mite solum trans aequora vectae 
ipse Dionaea^ monstravit Apollo columba. 80 

Has ego te sedes — nam nee mihi barbara Thrace 
nee Libye natale solum — transferre laboro, 
quas et mollis hiems et frigida temperat aestas, 
quas imbelle fretum torpentibus adluit undis. 
pax secura locis et desidis otia vitae 85 

et numquam turbata quies somnique peracti. 
nulla foro rabies aut strictae in iurgia leges : 
morum iura viris solum et sine fascibus aequum. 
quid nunc magnificas species cultusque locorum 
templaque et innumeris spatia interstincta columnis. 
et geminam molem nudi tectique theatri 91 

^ Dionea . , . columba Pol. : Dioneae , . . columbae jV. 
" Puteoli, Capua, Naples. Dione= Venus. 


SILVAE, III. V. 65-91 

might learn, while she follows the course of my songs, 
or wlietlier with lithe movement she toss her snow- 
white ai'ms : her innocence and modesty surpass her 
talent and lier skill. Surely the nimble Loves, 
surely thou, Cytherea, wilt feel shame that such 
loveliness is wasted. Nor is it only Rome that is 
fruitful in marriage unions and blazing festal torches : 
in my country too are bridegrooms found. Not so 
utterly has Vesuvius' peak and the flaming tempest 
of tlie baleful mountain drained of their townsmen 
the terror-stricken cities ; they stand yet and their 
people flourish. Here are the dwellings of Dicarchus, 
founded with Phoebus' auspices, and the harbour 
and the shores that the whole woi-ld visits ; there are 
the walls that counterfeit the vastness of mighty 
Rome, which Capvs filled with newcomers from Troy. 
There too is my own Parthenope, too small for her 
own citizens, yet witli no lack of strangers, Parthe- 
nope, whom after she had fared across the sea Apollo 
himself by the help of Dione's dove guided to a 
kindly soil.'' 

This is the spot — for neither barbarous Thrace nor 
I>ibya is my native land — whither I fain would bring 
you ; mild winters and cool summers temper its 
climate, its shores are lapped by the sluggish waters 
of a harmless sea. Peace untroubled reigns there, 
and life is leisurely and calm, with quiet undisturbed 
and sleep unbroken. No madness of the forum, no 
laws unsheatlied in quarrel ; our citizens admit but 
duty's ordinance, and Riglit holds sway without rod 
or axe. Why should I now praise the gorgeous 
scenes and adornments of that land, the temples and 
wide halls spaced off by countless columns, the two 
great theatres, one open and one covered, and the 



et Capitolinis quinquennia proxima lustris, 
quid laudem litus^ libertatemque Menandri, 
quam Romanus honos et Graia licentia niiscent ? 
nee desunt variae circa oblectaniina vitae : 95 

sive vaporiferas, blandissinia litora, Baias, 
enthea fatidicae seu visere tecta Sibyllae 
dulce sit Iliacoque iuguni niemorabile renio, 
seu tibi Bacchei \"ineta niadentia Gauri 
Teleboumque domos, trepidis ubi dulcia nautis 100 
lumina noctivagae tollit Pharus aemula lunae, 
caraque non molli iuga Surrentina Lyaeo, 
quae mens ante alios habitator Pollius auget, 
Aenarumque^ lacus medicos Stabiasque renatas : 
mille tibi nostrae referam telluris amores ? 105 

sed satis, hoc, coniunx, satis est dixisse : creavit 
me tibi. me socium longos adstvinxit in annos. 
nonne haec amborum genetrix altrixque videri 
digna ? sed ingratus qui plura adnecto tuisque 
moribus indubito : venies, carissima coniunx, 110 

praeveniesque etiam ; sine me tibi ductor aquarum 
Thybris et armiferi sordebunt tecta Quirini. 

^ litus M : lusus, risus, lites, ritus edd. 
* Aenarumque Vollmer : Denarumque M : Aenariaeque 
Dom. : Inarimesque Unger. 

" The " freedom of Menander " means the free, un- 
hampered life that Menander valued highly, and which 
forms the subject of some of his extant sajings, e.g. ^iov 
5t5dffKa\os I eXeidepov roh iraaiv avdpilirois dypos, " the country 
is a teacher of the free life to all." The mixture of Greek 
and Roman would be a characteristic of Neapolitan life. 


SILVAE, III. V. 92-112 

quinquennial contests that rival the Capitoline 
festival ? Why should I praise the shore and the 
freedom of Menander," a blend of Roman dignity 
and Grecian licence ? Nor are there lacking all 
around the amusements that a varied life affords : 
whether you please to visit Baiae with its steaming 
springs and alluring coast, or the prophetic Sibyl's 
inspired abode, or the hill made memorable by the 
Hi an oar '' ; whether you prefer the flowing vine- 
yards of Bacchic Gaurus, or the dwellings of the 
Teleboae," where the Pharus raises aloft the beacon 
that rivals the night-wandering moon and is welcomed 
by affrighted sailors, or the Surrentine hills beloved 
of fiery Bacchus, which my friend Pollius before all 
men honours by his dwelling, or the health-giving 
lake of Aenaria and Stabiae reborn <^ ? Shall I 
recount to you the thousand beauties of my country ? 
No ; 'tis enough, my wife, enough to say : This land 
bore me for you, and bound me to you in partner- 
ship for many a year. May it not worthily be 
deemed the mother and foster-mother of us both ? 
But 'twere ingratitude in me to add more words and 
to doubt your loyalty ; you will come with me, 
dearest wife, ay, even go before me ; without me 
Tiber, prince of streams, and the halls of armed 
Quirinus will seem dull and worthless in your eyes. 

" Of the Trojan Misenus (Virg. Ae7i. vi. 233). 

' Capri, which had a lightliouse. 

'' After the eruption. 



Statius Marcello suo Salutem 

Inveni librum, Marcelle carissime, quem pietati 
tuae dedicarem. Reor equidem aliter quam invocato 
numine maximi imperatoris nullum opusculum meum 
coepisse : sed hie liber tres habet . . .^ se quam 
quod quarta ad honorem tuum pertinet. Primo 
autem septimum decimum Germanici nostri con- 
sulatum adoravi ; secundo gratias egi sacratissimis 
eius epulis honoratus ; tertio viam Domitianam 
mlratus sum, qua gravissimam harenarum moram 
exemit. Cuius beneficlo tu quoque maturius epi- 
stolam meam accipies, quam tibi in hoc libro a 
Neapoli scribo. Proximum est lyricum carmen ad 
Septimium Severum, iuvenem, uti scis, inter ornatis- 
simos secundi ordinis, tuum quidem et condiscipulum, 
sed mihi citra^ hoc quoque ius artissime carum. Nam 
Mndicis nostri Herculem Epitrapezion secundum 
honorem, quem de me et de ipsis studiis meretur, 

* Lacuna recognized by JIahn, though none in MSS. : se 
quam quod Jf PoJ. {from P) : sequitur 5". inserting quae 
after quarta ; nisi quod quarta etc. s". sed nee hie aliter 
res habet se quam quod etc. FhiUimore. Vollmer irotddfill the 
lacuna thus : (Ubellos in honorem eius. tum demum 
secuntur eclogae ad amicos ; vides igitur te magis honorari 
non (potuis)se) quam quod etc. ^ citra Nohl : contra M. 



Statius to ins Friend Marcellus : Greeting. 

I HAVE found a volume, my dearest Marcellus, that 
I can dedicate to your loyal friendship. I believe 
that no work of mine has opened without an invoca- 
tion of the godhead of our mighty Prince ; but this 
book has three <such poems>, . . . and it is only the 
fourth that does you honour." In the first I have 
paid homage to the seventeenth consulship of our lord 
Germanicus ; in the second I have returned thanks 
for the privilege of attending his most august 
banquet ; in the third I express my admiration of 
the Domitian Road, whereby he has ended the 
serious waste of time caused by the sandy track. 
To him it is due that you will the sooner receive my 
letter which 1 am sending from Naples in this volume. 
Then follows an Ode to Septimius Severus, who is, 
as you know, one of the most distinguished young 
men of equestrian rank, and not only a school- 
companion of yours, but, even apart from that 
claim on me, one of my closest friends. As for the 
Hercules-statuette of our friend Vindex, I can make 
you responsible for that also, for he has deserved well 

° This seems to be the general sense. 



imputare etiam tibi possum. Maximum Vibium et 
dignitatis et eloquentiae nomine a nobis diligi satis 
eram testatus epistola, quam ad ilium de editione 
Thebaidos meae publicavi ; sed nunc quoque eum 
reverti maturius ex Dalmatia rogo. luncta est 
egloga ad municipem meum lulium Menecratem, 
splendidum iuvenem et Pollii mei generum, cui 
gratulor quod Neapolim nostram numei'o liberorum 
honestaverit. Plotio Grypo, maioris gradus iuveni, 
dignius opusculum reddam, sed interim hendeca- 
syllabos, quos Saturnalibus una risimus, huic volumini 

Quare ergo plura in quarto silvarum quam in 
prioribus ? ne se putent aliquid egisse, qui repre- 
henderunt, ut audio, quod hoc stili genus edidissem. 
Primum supervacuum est dissuadere rem factam ; 
deinde multa ex illis iam domino Caesari dederam, 
et quanto hoc plus est quam edere ? exercere autem 
ioco non licet ? " secreto " inquit. Sed et sphaero- 
machias spectamus et palaris lusio admittit. Novis- 
sinie : quisquis ex meis invitus aliquid legit, statim 
se profitetur^ adversum. Ita, quare consilio eius 
accedam ? In summam, nempe ego sum qui 
traducor ; taceat et gaudeat. Hunc tamen librum 

^ profitetur Vahlen and the Aldine : profiteatur M. 

" i.e., from the honour of the "ius trium liberorum" which 
had been bestowed upon him. 

* I read " profitetur " with \'ahlen and the Aldine, also 
Volhner, as with " profiteatur " the following sentence lacks 
point, while " taceat " gives a directly contradictory sense. 


of poetry in general and of myself in particular. I 
bore ample testimony to my affection for Vibius 
Maximus on the score both of high character and of 
poetic gift in the letter which I published about the 
bringing-out of my Thehaid ; but on this occasion 
I beg him to return from Dalmatia with all speed. 
Next comes a poem to my fellow-townsman Julius 
Menecrates, a brilliant youth, noble knight, and the 
son-in-law of my friend Pollius : I congratulate him 
on having done honour to our city of Naples by the 
number of liis children." Plotius Grypus, a youth of 
senatorial rank, shall have a poem more worthy of 
him, but in the mean time I have included in this 
volume some hendecasyllables that we laughed over 
together at the Saturnalia. 

Why then, you will ask, are there more pieces in 
the fourtli book of my Occasional Verses than in the 
former ? Why, that they who, as I hear, have 
criticized me for publisliing this kind of verse may 
feel that they have accomplished nothing. In the 
tirst place, the thing is done, and it is useless to 
grumble ; in the second, I had already presented 
many of them to our Imperial Master, compared with 
which publication is a trivial affair. Besides, surely 
one may write in sportive vein ? " Only privately," 
say they. But we go to see games of ball, and are 
admitted to fencing-matches. Finally : whoever of 
my friends reads anything unwillingly, then and 
there declares himself an enemy ; ^ very well, why 
should I take his advice ? After all, surely it is I 
who am being abused ; let him hold his peace and 

"ex meis " might perhaps be taken with "aUquid:" "any- 
thing of mine." Markland reads " invidus " for " invitus " : 
"with disapproval." 

• 205 


tu, Marcelle, defendes, et si videtur/ hactenus, 
minus, reprehendemur. Vale. 


Laeta bis octonis accedit purpura fastis 
Caesaris insignemque aperit Germanicus annum 
atque oritur cum sole novo, cum grandibus astris 
clarius ipse nitens et primo maior Eoo. 
exsultent leges Latiae, gaudete curules, 5 

et septemgemino iactantior aethera pulset 
Roma iugo, plusque ante alias Evandrius arces 
collis ovet : subiere novi Palatia fasces, 
et requiem bissenus^ honos precibusque receptis 
curia Caesareum gaudet vicisse pudorem. 10 

ipse etiam immensi reparator maximus aevi 
attollit vultus et utroque a limine grates 
I anus agit, quem tu vicina Pace ligatum 

1 defendes, et, si videtur etc., 3/ : defendes ; haec, si 
videtur etc. ronj. Pfniliinore: sed, si videtur etc. VoUmfr, 
irho transposes hunc . . . defendes to between hactenus and 
sin minus. 

" bissenus Stangius : bissextus 3/. 

" The purple is that of the consulship, not of the prin- 
cipate. The date is 95 a.d. 

^ The title was given him for his campaigns in Germany, 
for which he triumphed in 83. It was probably a favourite 
title of his. See note on 43. "^ The Palatine. 

"* Lit. " the twelvefold honour (the consulship, from the 
twelve lictors of the Consul) rejoices to have overcome 
repose,"' i.e. to have obtained Caesar as consul ; others take 


SILVAE, IV. I. 1-13 

be glad. But you, Marcellus, will champion tjiis 
book ; if you agree, well, so far so good ! otherwise, 
I must submit to criticism. Farewell ! 


Tills poem belongs to the class of Panegyric or laudation 
of the Emperor or other distinguished personage, which he- 
comes common in later times, e.g. Claudian, Sidonius, etc. 

With happy augury the Imperial consulship " adds 
yet another to its twice eight terms, and Germanicus ^ 
opens a year of glory ; he rises with the rising 
sun and the mighty constellations, himself more 
brilliant than they and outshining the early Morning 
Star. Exult, ye laws of Latium, rejoice, ye curule 
chairs, and let Rome more proudly strike the sky 
with her sevenfold summit, and Evander's hill '^ 
make louder boast than other heights ! Once more 
the rods and axes have entered the Palace, the 
twelvefold honour '' rejoices to rest idle no more, 
and the Senate that its prayers are heard and Caesar's 
modesty is overcome. Janus himself, great renewer 
of eternal Time, near whom thou hast set Peace ^ 

"requiem" as "Caesar's repose." The former interpreta- 
tion implies that only when Caesar was consul was the 
office really alive, a characteristic bit of flattery, as Domitian 
rarely held it for long, never beyond May 1st, and often 
only till January 13th, according to Suetonius, Bom. 13. 

* Vespasian built a temple of Pax " near the Forum " 
(Romanum), Suet. Vesp. 9, see iv. 3. 17 n. Whether the 
old Janus-arch of the Forum or the new Janus Quadrifrons 
of the Forum Transitorium, lietween the Roman and Julian 
Fora, is meant, is uncertain, though " utroque " suggests the 
former. The " new forum " is probal)ly the F. Transitorium. 


ST ATI us 

omnia iussisti componere bella novique 

in leges iurare fori, levat ecce supinas 15 

hinc atque inde manus geminaque haec voce profatui- : 

Salve, magne parens mundi, qui saecula mecum 
instaurare paras, taleni te cernere semper 
mense meo tua Roma cupit ; sic tempora nasci, 
sic annos intrare decet. da gaudia fastis 20 

continua ; hos umeros multo sinus ambiat ostro 
et properata tuae manibus praetexta Minervae. 
aspicis ut templis alius nitor, altior aris^ 
ignis et ipsa meae tepeant tibi sidera bruniae ? 
moribus atque tuis gaudent turmaeque tribusque 25 
purpureique patres, lucemque a consule ducit 
omnis honos ? quid tale, precor, prior annus habebat ? 
die age, Roma potens, et mecum, longa Vetustas, 
dinumera fastos nee parva exempla recense, 
sed quae sola meus dignetur vincere Caesar. 30 

ter Latio deciesque tulit labentibus annis 
Augustus fasces, sed coepit sero mereri : 
tu iuvenis praegressus avos. et quanta recusas, 
quanta vetas I flectere tamen precibusque senatus 
promittes hunc saepe diem, manet insuper ordo 35 
longior, et totidem felix tibi Roma curules 
terque quaterque dabit. mecum altera saecula 

et tibi longaevi renovabitur ara parentis^ ; 
mille tropaea feres, tantum permitted triumphos : 

^ aris M : astris Ml in marg. Pol. notes that P has both 

^ parentis M : Tarenti Turnebus. 
' permitte 5" : promitte M. 

" Augustus owed his earlier consulship to force of arms 
rather than to merit. 


SILA^AE, IV. I. 14-39 

to fetter him, and bidden liini bring all warfare to 
an end, and swear allegiance to the laws of thv new 
Forum, Janus lifts up his head and from either 
threshold utters his gratitude. Lo ! on this side and 
on that he raises suppliant hands, and speaks thus 
with twofold voice : " Hail, great Father of the 
world, who with me preparest to begin the ages 
anew, thus would thy Rome ever see thee in my 
month ; thus should eras be born, thus should the 
vear be opened. Give joys perpetual to our annals ; 
let those shoulders many a time be draped in purple 
folds, and in the bordered robe that thy own 
Minerva's hands make haste to weave for thee. 
Seest thou how the temples gleam more radiant, how 
the fire leaps higher on the altars, and even my 
mid-winter skv grows warmer ? how tribes and knights 
and purple-clad Senators rejoice in thy virtues, and 
every rank shines in the lustre of its consul ? What 
glory so great, I ask, had the year just gone ? Come, 
speak, imperial Rome, recount. Antiquity, with me 
the long annals, take no note of petty names, but 
such only as my Caesar would deign to surpass. 
Thrice and ten times in the lapse of years did 
Augustus wield the fasces over Latium, but only late 
by right of merit " : thou as a youth didst outstrip 
thy grandsires. And how many a time hast thou 
refused, how many a time forbidden to offer ! Yet 
wilt thou be persuaded, and oft vouchsafe this day 
to the Senate's prayers. A longer line awaits thee 
yet, and as oft again, ay, thrice and four times as 
often will fortvniate Rome grant thee the curule 
chair. With me shalt thou found a second age, and 
the altar of thy long-lived sire shall be restored ; a 
thousand trophies shalt thou win, wilt thou but 
VOL. I p 209 

ST ATI us 

restat Bactra novis, restat Babylona tributis 40 

frenari ; nondum gremio lovis Indica laurus, 
nondum Arabes Seresque rogant, nondum omnis 

annus habet, cupiuntque decern tua nomina menses." 

Sic lanus clausoque libens se poste recepit. 
tunc omnes patuere dei laetoque dederunt 45 

signa polo, longamque tibi, dux^ magne, iuventam 
annuit atque suos promisit luppiter annos. 



Regia Sidoniae convivia laudat Elissae, 
qui magnum Aenean Laurentibus intulit arvis, 
Alcinoique dapes mansuro carmine monstrat, 
aequore qui multo reducem consumpsit Ulixem : 
ast ego, cui sacrae Caesar nova gaudia cenae 5 

nunc primum dominaque dedit consurgere mensa, 
qua celebrem mea vota lyra. quas solvere grates 
sufficiam ? non, si pariter mihi vertice laeto 
nectat odoratas et SniA'rna et Mantua lauros, 
digna loquar. mediis videor discumbere in astris 10 

^ dux Markland : rex 31. 

" Statins elsewhere flatters Doniitian for abstaining from 
triumphs that he might have celebrated, cf. iv. 3. 159. 

*■ After his triumph at the end of 83 Doniitian had adopted 
the title of Ctermanicus, and later on, probably in 86, had 
the months September and October called Germanicus and 
Domitianus (Suet. Doni. 13). 

" See Virgil, Aen. i. 696 ; Homer, Odyss. viii. 57. 

SILVAE, IV. I. 40—11. 10 

permit tlie triumphs." B;ictra and Babylon are still 
to be curbed with new tribute, not yet have Indian 
laurels been laid in the lap of Jove ; not yet do tlie 
Arabs and Seres make petition, not yet hath the 
vear its full tale of honour : ten months still yearn 
for thee to name them." ** 

So Janus ended, and gladly withdrew into his 
closed portals. Then all the gods flung wide their 
temples, and gave signs in the glad vault of heaven, 
and Jupiter vouchsafed thee, O mighty leader, a 
perpetual youth and his own years. 


Statius offers his thanks to the Emperor for the great 
banquet given to Senators and Knights in his new palace, 
to which the poet had been invited. 

He who brought great Aeneas to the Laurentian 
fields extols the royal banquet of Sidonian Elissa, and 
he who ended Ulysses' story with his return after 
long seafaring portrays in lasting verse the supper of 
Alcinous : " but I, on Avhom now for the first time 
Caesar has bestowed the unwonted rapture of a feast 
divine, and granted me to ascend to the table of my 
prince, what skill have I to sing my blessings, what 
power to express my thankfulness ? Not even if 
Smyrna ** and Mantua both were to bind their laurels 
on my exultant head, could I make worthy utterance. 
Methinks I recline with Jove in mid-heaven, and take 

■^ One of the reputed birthplaces of Homer. 



cum love et Iliaca porrectum sumere dextra 
immortale nierum ! steriles transmisimus annos : 
haec aevi mi hi prima dies, hie Hmina vitae. 
tene ego, regnator terrarum oi'bisque subacti 
magne parens, te, spes hominum, te, cura deorum, 15 
cerno iacens ? datur haec iuxta, datur ora tuei'i 
vina inter mensasque et non adsurgere fas est ? 

Tectum augustum, ingens, non centum insigne 
sed quantae superos caelumque Atlante remisso 
sustentare queant. stupet hoc vicina Tonantis 20 
regia, teque pari laetantur sede locatum 
numina. nee magnum properes escendere caelum^ ; 
tanta patet moles efFusaeque impetus aulae 
Uberior campo^ multumque amplexus operti 
aetheros et tantum domino minor ; ille penates 25 
implet et ingenti genio iuvat. aemulus ilhc 
mons Libvs IHacusque nitens et^ multa Syene 
et Chios et glaucae certantia Doridi saxa 
Lunaque portandis tantum sufFecta columnis. 
longa supra species : fessis vix culmina prendas 30 
visibus auratique putes laquearia caeli. 
hie cum Romuleos proceres trabeataque Caesar 
agmina mille simul iussit discumbere mensis, 
ipsa sinus accincta Ceres Bacchusque laborat 

^ nee magnum properes escendere caelum Gronovms : 
excedere M: ne in m. pr. excedere c." Lundstroem. 

^ campo Pol. : campi M. 

' Iliacusque nitens et. I havp filled the lacuna of the Mss. 
fliua : Iliacusque nitet . . . multa M, Xilaea Syene Slater, 
cumulata conj. PJriUimore ; others in various ways. 

" Of Ganymede. 

'' The temple of Jupiter on the Capitol, or, perhaps, 
" magnum caelum," i.e. Olympus (23). Some edd. take 
" nee properes " as " do not hasten." 

SILVAE, IV. 11. 11-34 

the immortal wine proffered by an Ilian hand " ! I 
have hved barren yeai-s, but this is my natal day, 
this day is the threshold of my life. Is it thou, O 
ruler of the nations and mighty sire of the conquered 
world, is it tliou, hope of men and care of the gods, 
whom I behold while I lie at meat ? Is it granted me 
indeed to gaze at those features face to face, amid 
the feasting and the wine, and lawful not to rise up 
in thy presence ? 

An edifice august, huge, magnificent not witli an 
hundred columns, but with as many as would support 
heaven and the gods, were Atlas eased of his burden. 
The neighbouring palace of the Thunderer ^ views it 
with awe, and the Powers rejoice that thou hast a 
like abode. Nor wouldst thou hasten to ascend to the 
great sky ; so huge expands the pile, and the reach 
of the fai'-flung hall, more unhampered than a plain, 
embracing beneath its shelter a vast expanse of air, 
and only lesser than its lord ; he fills the house, and 
gladdens it with his mighty spirit. Libyan moun- 
tain and gleaming Ilian stone are rivals there,*^ and 
much Syenite and Chian and the marble that vies 
with the grey-green sea ; and Luna also, chosen but 
to bear the pillars' weight. Far upward travels the 
view ; scarce does the tired vision reach the summit, 
and you would deem it the golden ceiling of the sk3^ 
Here when Caesar has bidden the Roman chieftains 
and the ranks of knighthood '^ recline together at a 
thousand tables, Ceres herself with robe upgirt and 

' See note on i. 2. 148. The quarries of Luna in Etruria 
supplied white marble only, despised in comparison with the 
coloured kinds. 

^ The " trabea " was a decorated robe worn by the knights 
on solemn occasions, also sometimes by the consuls, and 
originally by the kings. 



sufficere. aetherii felix sic orbita fluxit 35 

Triptolemi ; sic vitifei'o^ sub palmite nudos 
umbravit coUes et sobria rura Lyaeus. 

Sed niihi non epulas Indisque innixa columnis 
robora Maurorum famulasque ex ordine turmas, 
ipsum, ipsum cupido tantum spectare vaoavit 40 

ti'anquillum vultus et maiestate serena 
mulcentem radios summittentemque modeste 
fortunae vexilla suae ; tamen ore nitebat 
dissimulatus honos. talem quoque barbarus hostis 
posset et ignotae eonspectum agnoscere gentes. 45 
non aliter gelida Rhodopes in valle recumbit 
dimissis Gradivus equis ; sic lubrica ponit 
membra Therapnaea resolutus gymnade Pollux, 
sic iacet ad Gangen Indis ululantibus Euhan, 
sic gravis Alcides post horrida iussa reversus 50 

gaudebat strato latus adclinare leoni. 
parva loquor necdum aequo tuos, Gern:ianice, vultus : 
talis, ubi Oceani finem mensasque revisit 
Aethiopum sacro diffusus nectare vultus 
dux superum secreta iubet dare carmina Musas 55 
et Pallenaeos Phoebum laudare triumphos. 

Di tibi — namque animas saepe exaudire minores 
dicuntur — patriae bis tei-que exire senectae 
annuerint fines ! rata numina miseris astris, 

^ vitiferoJ/: uvifero AVo/m. 

» He taught men how to sow corn, as Bacchus how to 
cultivate the grape. 

" There was a cycle of legends about Bacchus's conquests 
in India, for which see the Dionyslaca of Nonnus. 

' Supposed scene of the battle of gods and giants, more 
usually called Phlegra. 

SILVAE, IV. II. 35-59 

Bacchus strive to serve them. So bounteous were 
the ghding wheels of airy Triptolemus " ; so did 
Lyaeus overshadow the bare hills and sober fields 
with the branches of his vines. 

But no leisure had I to behold the feast or the 
tables of Moorish wood resting on supports of Indian 
ivory, or the rows of attendant slaves, so eager was 
I to gaze upon himself, ay himself, calm-visaged and 
in majesty serene tempering his rays and gently 
veiling the glory of his state ; yet the splendour that 
he would fain conceal shone in his countenance. 
Such as he Vv'as, barbarian foes and foreign tribes 
would have known him had they seen him. Not 
otiierwise does Gradivus recline in the cool vale of 
Rhodope, his steeds unyoked ; even so does Pollux 
weary from the wrestling-bouts of Therapnae lay 
down his slippery limbs ; so lies Euhan by Ganges' 
side while Indians howl ;^ so stern Alcides, returning 
after his grim errand, rejoices to lay his side upon the 
outstretched lion-skin. I speak of trivial tilings, nor 
can I yet find any rival to thy countenance, O 
Germanicus : such is the monarch of the gods, when 
he visits once more the bounds of Ocean and the 
Ethiopian board, and, his face suffused with sacred 
nectar, bids the Muses utter their mystic songs, and 
Phoebus praise the triumph of Pallene.'^ 

May the gods grant thee — for 'tis said they oft give 
ear to lesser souls — to surpass, twice and thrice over, 
the limits of thy sire's old age ! Mayst thou send 
appointed deities to the sky,** and grant teniples and 

^ An alhision may be intended here to the Temple of the 
Flavian Gens consecrated by Domitian. Cf. Theh. i. 30. 
Divine honours were given by Domitian to his brother Titus 
and to his niece Julia. " demos " = the Palatine. 



templaque des habitesque donios ! saepe annua 
pandas 60 

limina, saepe novo lanum lictore salutes, 
saepe coronatis iteres quinquennia lustris ! 
qua mihi felices epulas mensaeque dedisti 
sacra tuae, talis longo post tempore venit 
lux niihi, Troianae qualis sub collibus Albae, 65 

cum modo Germanas acies modo Daca sonantem 
proelia Palladio tua me manus induit auro. 



Quis duri silicis gravisque ferri 
immanis sonus aequori propinquum 
saxosae latus Appiae replevit ? 
certe non Libycae sonant catervae 
nee dux advena peierante bello 
Campanos quatit inquietus agros, 
nee frangit vada montibusque caesis 
inducit Nero sordidas paludes, 
sed qui limina bellicosa lani 
iustis legibus et foro coronat, 
qui castae Cereri diu negata 


" The Capitoline contest. 

*" See note on iii. 5. 28. 

" The prize was a golden olive-wreath. 

"^ The reference is to Hannibal's army, and to the bad 
faith (" punica fides ") of that commander. 

'' The reference is to Nero's attempt to make a canal 
from Lake Avernus to the mouth of the Tiber, which meant 


SILVAE, IV. 11. 60— III. 11 

abide in tliy palace ! Many a time mayst tliou fling 
wide the threshold of the year, and many a time 
with new lictors offer thy greetings to Janus, many 
a tin^.e renew the garlanded festival of the quin- 
quennial games ! " The day whereon thou didst 
vouchsafe to me the sacred blessings of thy feast and 
board came to me after long time as glorious as that 
when beneath the hills of Trojan '' Alba I sang now 
of German wars, now of Daeian battles, and thy hand 
set the golden circlet of Pallas '^ on my brow. 


T}ie Via JJo)nitiana, built in 95, replaced t/ie old, very bad 
road along the coast from Sinuessa to Naples ; tJte Appian 
Way struck inland at Sinuessa, and a long detour was 
necessary, if travellers to Naples wished to avoid, the bad 
read. The new road tlius effected a considerable shortening 
^\f the journey. 

What fearful sound of hard flint and heavy iron 
fills the stony Appian way wliere it draws nigh the 
sea ? Certainly no Libyan '^ liordes are thundering, 
no foreign chieftain scours restlessly the Campanian 
fields in treacherous warfare, nor is Nero hewing a 
canal,*" and making a way for squalid meres through 
cloven mountains. Nay, he who encircles the war- 
like threshold of Janus with justice and courts of 
law,-'^ he wlio restores to innocent Ceres acres long 

cuttiiifi' thrcuigh two mountain ridges, see Tac. Ann. xv. 42. 
"pahides," probably the Poniptine marshes. 

^ Probably the Fornni Transitorium, see iv. 1. 13 n., and 
the new Janus Quadrifrons. Cf. Mart. x. 28. 5. 


ST ATI us 

reddit iugera sobriasque terras, 

qui fortem vetat interire sexum 

et censor prohibet mares adultos 

pulchrae supplicium timere formae, 15 

qui reddit Capitolio Tonanteni 

et Pacem propria domo reponit, 

qui genti pati-iae futura semper 

sancit lumina^ Flaviumque caelum^ : 

Iiic seguis^ populi vias gravatus* 20 

et campos iter omne detinentes 

longos eximit ambitus novoque 

iniectu solidat graves harenas 

gaudens Euboicae domum Sibyllae 

Gauranosque sinus et aestuantes 25 

septem montibus admovere Baias. 

Hie quondam piger axe vectus uno 
nutabat cruce pendula viator 
sorbebatque rotas maligna tellus, 
et plebs in mediis Latina campis 30 

horrebat mala navigationis ; 
nee cursus agiles, sed impeditum 
tardabant iter orbitae tacentes,^ 
dum pondus nimium querens sub alta 
repit languida quadrupes statera. 35 

^ lumina M : limina s", numina Buecheler. 
^ caelum Turnebus : calvum M, cultiim, culmen, cliviim, 
clavum (J. Ph. 13) edd. 

^ segnis 5": senis J/: caenis Gronovius. 
* gravatus He'nisius : gravatas M. 
^ tacentes M : tenaces Davies. 

" Domitian encouraged wheat-growing at the expense of 
vine-growing in Italy, and actually ordered vineyards to be 
destroyed in the provinces, Suet. JJom. 1. 


SILVAE, IV. HI. 12-35 

denied her'^ and a sobei- countryside, he who forbids 
the strength of sex to be destroyed, and as Censor 
will allow grown males no more to fear the punish- 
ment of beauteous form,** he who restores the 
Thunderer to the Capitol,^ and sets Peace in her own 
home, he who consecrates to his father's line '^ lights 
that will aye endure, a Flavian heaven '' — 'tis he who, 
brooking ill the slow journeys of his people and the 
plains that clog every minute of the road, sweeps 
away tedious windings and lays a new solid paving 
upon the weary sands, rejoicing to bring the Euboean 
Sibyl's home and the dells of Gaurus and sweltering 
Baiae nearer to the seven hills. 

Here on a time the tardy traveller, borne on a 
single axle,^ was balanced on the swaying pole, 
while the unkindly earth sucked in the wheels, and 
Latin folk shuddered in mid-plain at the evils of a 
sea-voyage ; nor could carriages run nimbly, but the 
noiseless track made their course hampered and 
slow, while the fainting beast, complaining of a too 
heavy load, crept on beneath its lofty yoke. But 

* Refers to Domitian's proliibition of the practice of 

" The restoration of the Temple of Jupiter on the Capitol 
after the fire of 69. 

^ Domitian was only completing the work of Vespasian. 
Cf. Suet. Dom. 5, " omnia sub titulo tantum suo, ac sine 
ulla pristini auctoris memoria." 

' The " Flavia domus " on the Quirinal was made a 
shrine of that family, cf. v. 1 . 240. 

f The picture seems to be of a two-wheeled gig with its 
wheels sunk in the mud and the unfortunate traveller 
precariously clinging to the pole ; " crux " is not elsewhere so 
used, but can easilj' be understood of the pole with the 
joke: "axe vectus uno " is perhaps "with one wheel 
foundered " (Slater), but V'ollmer is surely wrong in making 
it a four-wheeled carriage. 



at nunc, quae solidum diem terebat, 
horarum via facta vix duarum. 
non tensae volucruni per astra pennae 
nee velocius ibitis, carinae. 

Hie primus labor incohare sulcos 40 

et rescindere limites et alto 
egestu penitus cavare terras ; 
mox haustas aliter replere fossas 
et summo gremium parare dorso, 
ne nutent sola, ne maligna sedes 45 

det pressis dubium cubile saxis ; 
tunc umbonibus hinc et hinc coactis 
et crebris iter alligare gomphis. 
o quantae pariter manus laborant ! 
hi caedunt nemus exuuntque niontes, 50 

hi ferro scopulos trabesque levant ; 
illi saxa ligant opusque texunt 
cocto pulvere sordidoque tofo ; 
hi siccant bibulas manu lacunas 
et longe fluvios agunt minores. 55 

hae possent et Athon cavare dextrae 
et maestum pelagus gementis Helles 
intercludere ponte non natanti. 
his parvus, nisi di via^ vetarent. 
Incus freta miscuisset Isthmos. 60 

fervent litora mobilesque silvae, 
it^ longus medias fragor per urbes, 

' di via Macnaghten : deviae M, di viam Barth, cliviae 
/. Voss {ich. VoUmer reads), laurus nisi Deliae Constantinus 
Fanensis {and Ellin). 

2 it Pol. : et M. 

" This description of road-making- is confirmed by ex- 
cavations, see extract from Bergier's Histoire des grands 


SIL\'AE, IV. in. 36-62 

now a journey that once wore out a solid day is 
performed in scarce two hours. No swifter fare ye 
througli the heavens, ye birds with outstretched 
pinions, nor will ye more swiftly sail, ye ships. 

The first labour was to prepare furrows and mark 
out the borders of the road,'' and to hollow out the 
g'round with deep excavation ; then to fill up the 
dug trench with other material,'' and to make ready 
a base for the road's arched ridge, lest the soil give 
way and a treacherous bed provide a doubtful 
resting-place for the o'erburdened stones ; then 
to bind it with blocks set close on either side and 
frequent wedges. Oh ! how many gangs are at 
work together ! Some cut down the forest and strip 
the mountain-sides, some plane down beams and 
boulders with iron ; others bind the stones together,'' 
and interweave the work with baked sand and dirty 
tufa ; others by dint of toil dry up the thirsty jiools, 
and lead far away the lesser streams. These hands 
could hollow out Athos, and bar with no floating 
liridge the doleful sea of moaning Helle. These 
hands, did not the gods forbid the passage,'' had 
made Ino's puny Isthmus '^ mingle the sundered seas. 
The shores are astir and the waving Avoods, the din 
travels afar through the cities that lie between, and 

diemins de Vempire Romain, in Pauly's Real- Encycl, 
iv. 2. 3547. See also Smith's Diet. jint. s.v. "Via." 

** Lime was used to cement the intermediate strata of the 
road, consistinjj- of stones, broken brick and pottery, 
"sordido": called by Vitriivius " tofus niger." 

" Various attempts were made to cut through the Isthmus 
by Demetrius of Macedon, Julius Caesar, Caligula, and 
Nero, but the gods seemed to be against the undertaking, 
" net'asto, ut omnium exitu patuit, incepto," Plin. N.H. iv. 10. 

■* It was at Lechaeum, a port on the Isthmus, that Ino 
was worshipped. 


ST ATI us 

atque echon siniul hinc et inde fractam 
Gauro Massicus uvifer remittit. 
niiratur sonitum quieta Cyme 65 

et Literna palus pigerque Savo. 

At flavum caput umidumque late 
crinem moUibus impeditus uhis 
Vulturnus levat ora niaximoque 
pontis Caesarei reclinus arcu 70 

raucis talia faucibus redundat : 
" camporum bone conditor nieorumj 
qui me vallibus aviis refusum 
et^ ripas habitare nescientem 
recti legibus alvei ligasti, 75 

et nunc ille ego turbidus minaxque, 
vix passus dubias prius carinas, 
iam pontem fero perviusque calcor ; 
qui terras rapere et rotare silvas 
adsueram — pudet ! — , amnis esse coepi ; 80 
sed grates ago ser\itusque tanti est, 
quod sub te duce, te iubente cessi, 
quod tu maximus arbiter meaeque 
victor perpetuus legere ripae. 
et nunc limite me colis beato 85 

nee sordere sinis malumque late 
deterges sterilis soli pudorem, 
ne me pulvereum gravemque caelo 
T}Trheni sinus obluat^ profundi, 
qualis Cinyphius tacente ripa 90 

Poenos Bagrada serpit inter agros, 
sed talis ferar, ut nitente cursu 
tranquillum mare proximumque possim 
puro gurgite provocare Lirim." 

1 et r : it M. 
* obluat 31 : obruat 5". 


SILVAE, IV. in. 63-94 

the vine-bearing Massie mount throws back to 
Gaurus the echoes that scatter on every side. Quiet 
Cyme marvels at the noise, and the Liternian lake 
and sluggish Savo. 

But Vulturnus,'* his yellow Jiead and wide-flung 
watery tresses entangled in soft sedge, raises his face 
and leaning against the mighty arch of Caesar's 
bridge pours out from his strident throat such words 
as tliese : " Gracious benefactor of my plains, who, 
wliile I poured o'er trackless vales nor knew how to 
dwell witliin my banks didst bind me by the law of 
a strict channel, now do I, that turbulent and danger- 
ous stream, who once scarce brooked frail vessels, 
already endure a bridge, and am trodden by travellers 
imderfoot ; I who was wont to whirl forest and field 
to ruin, shame on me ! am beginning to be a river. 
But I give thee thanks, and my servitude is worth 
the while, because under thv rule and at thy com- 
mand I have yielded, and because thou wilt be read 
of perpetually as supreme lord and conqueror of mv 
bank. And now thou honourest me with splendid 
embankments,* nor sufferest me to be foul, and far 
and wide dost purge away the evil shame of barren 
soil ; so that the gulf of the Tyrrhenian sea need 
not cleanse my muddy, sky-polluting stream, like to 
Cinyphian Bagrada crawling between silent banks 
through Punic fields : nay, so brightly shall I flow 
that I shall challenge the calm sea with my sparkling 
current, or neighbouring Liris with my unstained 

" Tlie \'iilturniis flows into the sea about 10 miles S. of 
Sinuessa: the road woukl cross it not far from its mouth. 

* Or, " with a splendid channel," as Ov. Met. viii. 559 
" solito dum limite currunt flumina," etc. 



Haec amnis pariterque se levarat 95 

ingenti plaga marmorata dorso. 
huius ianiia prosperumque limen 
arcus, belligeris ducis tropaeis 
et totis Ligurum nitens nietallis, 
quantus nubila qui coronat imbri.^ lOU 

illic flectitur excitus ^iator, 
illic Appia se dolet relinqui. 
tunc velocior acriorque cursus, 
tunc ipsos iuvat impetus iugales ; 
ceu fessis ubi reniigum lacertis 105 

primae carbasa ventilatis, aurae. 
ergo onmes, age, quae sub axe primo 
Romani colitis fidem parentis, 
prono limite commeate gentes, 
Eoae citius venite laurus. 110 

nil obstat cupidis, nihil moratur : 
qui primo Tiberim relinquit ortu, 
primo vespere naviget Lucrinum. 

Sed quam fine viae recentis imo, 
qua monstrat veteres Apollo Cumas, 1 1 "> 

albam crinibus infulisque cerno ! 
visu fallimur ? an sacris ab antris 
profert Chalcidicas Sibylla laurus ? 
cedamus ; chely, iam repone cantus : 
vates sanctior incipit, tacendum est. 120 

en ! et colla rotat novisque late 
bacchatur spatiis viamque replet, 
tunc sic virgineo profatur ore : 

" dicebam, veniet^manete campi 
atque amnis — , veniet favente caelo, 125 

^ imbri M : Iri s". 

SILVAE, IV. III. !)5 li'.j 

Thus spoke the river, and tlierewith a marbled 
stretch of roadway had arisen with mighty ridge. 
Its portal and auspicious threshold was an arch that 
shone M'ith the warlike trophies of the Prince and all 
Liguria's mines,'* as vast as that which rings the 
clouds with rain. There the wayfarer turns aside with 
quickened speed, there the Appian road gi-ieves that 
she is left. Then swifter and more furious grows the 
pace, and even the beasts exult in the speed : as 
wlien the rowers' arms are weary and the first breezes 
f;\n the sails. Con:ie then all ye who beneath the sky 
of dawn owe fealty to the Roman Sire, flock hither all 
ye races on this easy road, come more swiftly than 
befoi-e, ye laurels of the East. Nought hinders your 
eagerness, nought delays your course : he who leaves 
Tiber at dawn of day, let him sail the Lucrine lake 
at earliest eventide. 

But what woman is this with snow-white hair and 
fillet whom I see at the new road's extremest end, 
where Apollo's temple shows Cumae's ancient site * ? 
Does my vision err ? or does the Sibyl bring forth 
the Chalcidic " bayleaves from her sacred grot ? Let 
us retire ; lute, lay by thy song ! a holier bard 
begins, and Ave must be silent. Lo ! how she whirls 
her head around, and rushing in frenzy far and wide 
about the new-made track fills all the roadway ! 
Then thus she speaks with virgin mouth : "I said 
it, he will come — have patience, ye fields and river ! — 
he will come by heaven's favour, who will raise this 

" Possibly the mines of Luna are referred to. 

*' It is a habit of Statins to reinforce his own praise with 
tliat of some supernatural person, e.</. Hercules in iii. 1, 
Janus in iv. 1, Venus in iii. 4, etc. 

<= Cumae (Cyme) was a colony of Chalcis in Euboea. 

VOL. I Q 225 


qui foedum nemus et putres harenas 

celsis pontibus et via levabit. 

en ! hie est deus, hunc iubet beatis 

pro se luppiter imperare terris ; 

quo non dignior has subit habenas, 130 

ex quo me duce praescios Averni 

Aeneas avide futura quaerens 

lucos et penetravit et rehquit. 

hie paci bonus, hie timendus armis, 

Natura mehor potentiorque. 135 

hie si flammigeros teneret axes, 

largis, India, nubibus maderes, 

undaret^ Libye, teperet Haemus. 

salve, dux hominuni et parens deoruni, 

provisum mihi conditunique numen. 140 

nee iam putribus evoluta chartis 

sollemni prece quindecim virorum 

perlustra niea dicta, sed canentem 

ipsani comminus, ut mereris, audi. 

vidi^ quam seriem^ merentis^ aevi 145 

pronectant tibi candidae sorores : 

magnus te manet ordo saeculorum, 

natis longior abnepotibusque 

annos perpetua geres iuventa, 

quos fertur placidos adisse Nestor, 150 

quos Tithonia computat senectus 

et quantos ego Dehum poposci. 

iuravit tibi iam nivaUs Arctus, 

nunc magnos Oriens dabit triumphos. 

ibis qua vagus Hercules et Euhan 155 

ultra sidera flammeumque solem 

et Nili caput et nives Atlantis, 


SILVAE, IV. III. 126-157 

rotting woodland and these pestilent sands on lofty- 
bridges and a causeway. Lo ! a god is he, at Jove's 
command he rules for him the happy world ; none 
worthier than he has held this sway since under my 
guidance Aeneas, eagerly searching out the future, 
penetrated Avernus' prescient groves and went forth 
again. A friend is he to peace, and terrible in arms, 
more bountiful than Nature and more powerful. 
Were his the government of the flaming sky, thou 
India wouldst be moist with abundant showers, I>ibya 
would stream with waters, Haemus would be warm. 
Hail, ruler of men and parent of gods, foreseen by me 
and fore-ordained was thy godhead. No longer scan 
those words of mine that tlie fifteen men " with solemn 
prayer unroll on mouldering sheets, but face to face, 
as thou deservest, hear me chant my oracle. I have 
seen what chain of meritorious years the Fates 
white-clad are weaving for thee ; a mighty roll of 
centuries awaits thee, longer than son or grandson 
shalt thou bear the years that Nestor reached, as 
they say, in tranquil age, as many as old Tithonus 
counted or I myself asked of the Delian god.* 
Already the snowy North has paid thee homage, 
soon the Orient will give thee mighty triumphs. 
Where Avandering Hercules and Euhan " went thou 
shalt go, beyond the stars and the flaming sun, and 
the source of Nile and the snows of Atlas, and blest 

" The XVviri, who had charge of the Sibylline oracles. 
** i.e., as many grains as were in a handful of dust ; see 
Ovid, 3l€t. xiv. 130. « Bacchus. 

^ undaret M : umbraret Postdate, 

^ vidi M : audi Heinsius. ^ seriem Dom. : series M. 

* merentis M : variously emended, recentis, morantis, 
sequentis, etc. 



et laudum cunuilo beatus omni 

scandes^ belliger abnuesque currus ; 

donee Troicus ignis et renatae 160 

Tarpeius pater intonabit aulae, 

haee donee ^^a te regente^ terras 

annosa magis Appia senescat." 


Curre per Euboicos non segnis, epistola, campos, 
hac ingressa \"ias,^ qua nobilis Appia crescit 
in latus et niolles solidus premit agger harenas. 
atque ubi Romuleas velox penetraveris arces, 
continue dextras flavi pete Thybridis oras, 5 

Lvdia qua penitus stagnum navale coercet 
ripa suburbanisque vadum praetexitur hortis. 
illic egregium formaque animisque \idebis 
Marcelluni et celso praesignem vertice nosces. 
cui primam solito vulgi de more salutem, 10 

mox inclusa modis haec reddere verba memento : 

^ scandes 5" : sandes -1/: laudes conj. PhilL, frondes 

^ regente r : gerente M. ' vias 3/ : via Vollmer. 

" Apparently a reference to Domitian's supposed mag- 
nanimity in refusing triumphs, rf. iii. 3. 168 n. 

" The fire brought from Troy and kept in the temple of 

* The plains of Campania, so-called from the town of 
Cumae, originally colonized by Chalcis in Euboea. 

^ This (leftward) bend of the Appian Way to the sea is 
the same as that referred to in the note at the beginning of 
the last poem, where the road is mentioned as striking 
inland (to one travelling from Rome) at Sinuessa. 


SILVAE, IV. III. 158— IV. 11 

in all thy wealth of noble deeds thou shalt mount 
and again refuse the chariots of war "■ : so long as 
the Trojan fire '' shall abide and the Tarpeian Father 
thunder in his reborn shrine, yea, until under thy 
governance of the earth this road grows older than 
the Appian's years." 


Vitorius Marcellus was of eqveKtrian famiiy, but became 
Praetor, and was also (liven charge of t/ie Ma Latina ; for 
other details see iPraef., II. 9, 41 jf. and 65 of this poem. 

Haste at no laggard speed, my letter, o'er the 
Euboean plains " ; set out upon thy road where the 
famous Appia branches sideward,'' and a solid mound 
is planted on the yielding sands. And when swiftly 
travelling thou hast reached the tow'ers of Romulus, 
seek forthwith the right bank of yellow Tiber, Avhere 
the I^ydian shore straitens narrowly the naval basin,'' 
and suburban pleasure-gardens fringe the water. 
There shalt thou see Marcellus, peerless both in 
valour and in looks, and thou shalt know him by the 
mark of his lofty stature. First pay thy greeting in 
the accustomed manner, then remember to deliver 
this verse-embodied message : 

* The "stagnum navale " was a lake excavated bj' Augustus 
at the foot of the Janiculum for the purpose of naval 
displays and sham fights ; it was about 50 acres in extent, 
and surrounded by pleasure gardens. " Lydia ripa " probably 
means the rising ground on the right bank, i.e. the Etruscan 
side of the river. The Etruscans were supposed to have 
come originally from Lydia : cf. \irg. Aen. ii. 781 *' Lydius 
fiuvius," of the Tiber. 


ST ATI us 

lam terras volucremque polum fuga veris aquosi 
laxat et Icariis caelum latratibus urit ; 
ardua iam densae rarescunt moenia Romae. 
hos Praeneste sacrum, nemus bos glaciale Dianae, 15 
Algidus aut horrens aut Tuscula protegit umbra, 
Tiburis hi lucos Anienaque^ frigora captant. 
te quoque clamosae quaenam plaga mitior urbi 
subtrahit ? aestivos quo decipis acre soles ? 19 

quid ? tuus ante omnis, tua cura potissima, Gallus, 
nee non noster amor — dubium morumne probandus 
ingeniine bonis — Latiis aestivat in oris 
anne metalliferae repetit iam moenia Lunae 
Tyrrhenasque domos ? quod si tibi proximus haeret, 
non ego nunc vestro procul a sermone recedo ; 25 
certum est, inde sonus geminas mihi circuit aures. 
sed tu, dum nimio possessa Hyperione flagrat 
torva Cleonaei iuba sideris, exue curis 
pectus et assiduo temet furare labori. 
et sontes operit pharetras arcumque retendit 30 

Parthus et Eleis auriga laboribus actos 
Alpheo permulcet equos et nostra fatescit 
laxaturque chelys : \ares instigat alitque 
tempestiva quies, maior post otia virtus ! 
talis cantata Briseide venit Achilles 35 

acrior et positis erupit in Hectora plectris. 
te quoque flammabit tacite repetita parumper 
desidia et solitos^ novus exultabis in actus, 
certe iam Latiae non miscent iurgia leges, 

^ Anienaque S" : amenaque M. 
^ solitos S" : soljdos M and Vollmer. 

" i.e., of the Dogstar, " canis Icarius " (Ov. Am. ii. 16. 4) ; 
the dog, named Maera, belonged to Icarus, son of Oebahis, 
king of Sparta, and was made a star after its death. 


SILVAE, IV. IV, 12-39 

" Already the flight of rainy spring sets free the 
earth and the rushing pole, and scorches the heaven 
with Icarian hayings " ; already the high walls of 
crowded Rome grow empty. Some sacred Praeneste 
shelters, some Diana's ice-cool glade or rugged 
Algidus or the shades of Tusculum ; others are eager 
for the groves of Tibur or Anio's cold waves. And 
thou — what gentler region draws thee from the 
clamorous city ? With what sky art thou baffling 
the summer suns ? And Gallus, thy favourite, thy 
chiefest care, whom I too love — whether more to be 
praised for virtue or for wit I know not — does he pass 
the summer on Latium's coast, or seek again the 
walls of Luna rich in mines and his Tyrrhenian home ? 
But if he is close by thy side, my name now is not 
far from thy converse ; ay, 'tis certain ; that is why 
both my ears are buzzing. But do thou, while the 
angry mane of Cleonae's star ^ is blazing, possessed 
by Hyperion's exceeding might, set free thy heart 
from cares and escape from constant toil. The 
Parthian puts up his noxious arrows and unstrings his 
bow, and the charioteer refreshes in Alpheus the 
steeds that Elean labours have exhausted, and my 
lyre grows weary and is relaxed : timely repose 
heartens and nourishes strength, valour is increased 
by a spell of ease. Even so Achilles, when he had 
sung of Briseis, went forth the fiercer, and putting 
by his quill burst out against Hector. Thee too will 
leisure sought once more awhile secretly kindle, and 
thou wilt go forth refreshed and exultant to thy 
wonted tasks. Now indeed the Roman courts have 
ceased to bicker, 'tis the season of idleness and peace, 

** The Constellation Leo, from Cleonae, near Nemea, where 
Hercules killed the lion. 


ST ATI us 

et pacem plger annus liabet niessesque reversae 40 

dimisere forum, nee iani tibi turba reoruni 

vestibule querulicjue rogant exire elientes ; 

cessat centeni moderatrix iudieis hasta, 

qua tibi sublimi iam nune eeleberrinia fania 

eminet et iuvenis facundia pi-aeterit annos. 45 

felix curarum, cui non Heliconia cordi 

serta nee imbelles Parnasi e vertice laurus, 

sed viget ingenium et magnos aceinctus in usus 

fert animus quascumque vices : nos otia vitae 

solamur cantu ventosaque gaudia famae 50 

quaerimus. en egomet somnum et geniale secutus 

litus, ubi Ausonio se condidit hospita portu 

Parthenope, tenues ignavo pollice chordas 

pulso Maroneique sedens in margine templi 

sumo animum et magni tumulis adeanto magistri : 55 

at tu, si longi cursum dabit Atropos aevi, 

— detque, precor, Latiique ducis sic numina pergant, 

quern tibi posthabito studium est coluisse Tonante, 

quique tuos alio subtexit munere fasces 

et spatia obliquae mandat renovare Latinae ! — GO 

forsitan Ausonias ibis frenare cohortes 

aut Rheni populos aut nigrae litora Thyles 

aut Histrum servare datur metuendaque portae 

limina Caspiacae. nee enim tibi sola potentis 

eloquii virtus : sunt membra accommoda bellis 65 

" The Centumviri were an important court of ci\ il juris- 
diction. Its emblem was the spear, originally set up at sales 
of property captured from the enemy, as questions of pro- 
perty, e.g. inheritance, often came before it. 

* According to the legend the Siren of that name threw 
herself Into the sea after being foiled by Ulysses and was 

SILVAE, IV. IV. 40-G5 

and tlie return of the harvest has emptied the forum. 
Defendants no more throng thy chambers, no querul- 
ous chents pray thee to come forth. Idle is the spear 
that rules the Hundred Judges," before whom even 
now, in all tlie brilliance of high renown, thy elo- 
quence is pre-eminent and outstrips thy youthful 
years. Happy thou in thy labours, who carest not 
for the chaplets of Helicon nor for unwarlike bays 
from Parnassus' summit, but thy intellect is keen, 
and thy mind girt up for mighty deeds endures 
wliatever may befall : we beguile a leisured life with 
song, and seek the fickle delights of fame. Lo ! I 
myself, in quest of sleep and that genial shore where 
the stranger Parthenope ** found refuge in an Auso- 
nian haven, pluck at my frail strings M'ith feeble 
fingers, and seated by the threshold of Maro's shrine 
take heart and make melody at the mighty master's 
tomb."^ But thou, if Atropos gives thee a long span 
of life — and 'tis my prayer she may, and that tlic 
godhead of the Latian prince may so appoint, whose 
zealous worshipper, ay even before the Thunderer, 
thou art, and who adds another duty to thy year of 
office, and bids thee renew the hilly courses of the 
Latin Way — thou perchance shalt go to curb the 
cohorts of Ausonia, or 'tis thy task to guard the 
peoples of the Rhine or dark Thule's shores, or Ister 
and the dread approaches of the Caspian gate. For 
it is not only tlie gift of powerful eloquence that is 
thine : thou hast limbs that are made for war, and 

washed up in the harbour of Naples, which was called after 
her. For another legend see iv. 8. 48 n. 

" X'irgil's tomb was on tlie road from Naples to Puteoli, 
about two miles out from Naples, and was the object of the 
pious worship of Silius Italicus and many others. 


ST ATI us 

quique gravem tarde^ subeant thoraca lacerti : 
seu campo pedes ire pares, est agmina supra 
nutaturus apex ; seu frena sonantia fleetes, 
serviet asper equus. nos facta aliena canendo 
vergimur in senium : propriis tu pulcher in armis 70 
ipse canenda geres parvoque exempla parabis 
magna Getae, dignos quern iam nunc belliger actus 
poscit avus praestatque^ domi novisse triumphos. 
surge, agedum, iuvenemque, puer, deprende paren- 

stemmate materno felix, virtute paterna, 75 

iam te blanda sinu Tyrio sibi Gloria^ felix 
educat et cunctas gaudet spondere curules." — 

Haec ego Chalcidicis ad te, Marcelle, sonabam 
litoribus, fractas ubi Vesvius erigit iras, 
aemula Trinacriis volvens incendia flammis. 80 

mira fides ! credetne virum ventura propago, 
cum segetes iterum, cum iam haec deserta virebunt, 
infra urbes populosque premi proavitaque fato* 
rura abiisse pari^ ? necdum letale minari 
cessat apex, procul ista tuo sint fata Teati 85 

nee Marrucinos agat haec insania montes. 

Nunc si forte meis quae sint exordia musis 
scire petis, iam Sidonios emensa labores 
Thebais optato collegit carbasa portu 
Parnasique iugis silvaque Hehconide festis 90 

^ tarde M: subeant arte O. Mueller: artandi conj. 

^ avus praestatque M (avos prestatque) : perstatque 
Peyrared and Vollmer: avo spernitque Phillimore. 

* gloria M : curia Markland. 

* fa to Slater: toto 3f: tosto Vollmer: tota Grasherger. 
^ pari Slater : mari M. 

" "tarde," apparently because his frame is so robust; the 
idea can be paralleled from the Thehaid, e.g. i. 489. 


SILVAE, IV. IV. 66-90 

thews that with difficulty ^ put on the heavy corselet ; 
should'st thou prepare to go on foot, thy helmet's 
peak will nod high above the ranks ; should'st thou 
bend the jingling reins, the mettlesome charger will 
do thy bidding. We, singing the deeds of others, 
fall into old age : thou resplendent in thy armour 
shalt perform actions meet for song, and set a noble 
pattern before the youthful Geta,^ of whom already 
his warrior grandsire is demanding worthy feats and 
grants him to know the triumphs of his house. Up, 
then, be doing, and overtake thy sire, though he be 
a man and thou but a lad, happy alike in thy mother's 
lineage and thy father's prowess. Already blissful 
Glory nourishes thee, and fondles thee in her robe 
of Tyrian dye, and delights to promise thee all the 
curule chairs." 

Such, Marcellus, is the song I am singing thee on 
the Chalcidic strand, where Vesuvius hurls forth 
broken rage, outpouring fire that would rival Tri- 
nacrian flames. Marvellous, but true ! Will future 
ages believe, when once more crops are growing, and 
these wastes are green again, that cities and peoples 
lie beneath, and that their ancestral lands have 
perished by a like fate ? And still that peak threatens 
ruin. Far be that fate from thy Teate, nor may 
such madness seize the Marrucinian hills ! 

If now perchance you ask what my muse is attempt- 
ing, my Thehaid having completed her Sidonian '^ 
toils has at last furled her sails in the wished-for 
haven, and on the ridges of Parnassus and in the 

'' His son was called Vitorius Hosidius Geta after his 
mother, who was of the Hosidii, a senatorial family. 

" i.e. Theban, from the descent of the Thebans from 



tura dedit flammis et virginis exta iuvencae 

votiferaque meas suspendit ab arbore vittas. 

nunc vacuos crines alio subit infula nexu : 

Troia quideni magnusque mihi teniptatur Achilles, 

sed vocat arcitenens alio pater arniaque monstrat 95 

Ausonii niaiora ducis. trahit impetus illo 

iam pi-ideni retrahitque timor. stabuntne sub ilia 

mole umeri an magno vincetur pondere cervix ? 

die, Marcelle, feram ? fluctus an sueta minores 

nosse ratis nondum loniis credenda periclis ? 100 

lamque vale et penitus voti tibi vatis honorem^ 
corde exire veta ; nee enim Tirynthius almae^ 
parens^ amicitiae ; cedet tibi gloria fidi 
Theseos, et lacerum qui circa moenia Troiae 
Priamiden caeso solacia traxit amico. 105 


Parvi beatus ruris honoribus, 
qua prisca Teucros Alba colit lares, 
fortem atque facundum Severum 
non solitis fidibus saluto. 

^ honorem M : amorem Dorn. 

^ Lacuna, ace. to most edd., after Tirynthius : Vollmer 
makes al. pec. am. in apposition, cf. Mart. ix. 14. 2, and 
explains by ellipse of te superat: others read tihj notius, 
retinentius. •'' parous Slater : pectus M. 

" See the prelude to the Achilleid ; it was conventional 
flattery to suppose that one's real ambition was to sing of 
the exploits of the F^mperor. 

silvaf:, IV. IV. 91— V. 4 

glades of Helicon has thrown incense on the festal 
flames and the entrails of a virgin heifer, and hung 
up my chaplets on a votive tree. And now another 
band new twined encircles my vacant locks : ay, 
'tis Troy I am attempting and great Achilles," but 
the Sire that wields the bow calls me elsewhere and 
points me to the mightier arms of the Ausonian chief. 
Long since has impulse urged me thither, but fear 
holds me back. Will my shoulders sustain so great 
a burden, or will my neck yield under the weight ? 
Tell me, Marcellus, shall I essay the task ? or must 
my bark that knows but lesser seas not yet be trusted 
to Ionian perils ^ ? 

And now farewell, and let not regard for the poet 
who is wholly devoted to thee pass from thy mind ; 
for neither was the Tirynthian chary of warm- 
hearted friendship ; to thee shall yiekl the fame 
of loyal Theseus, and of him who to comfort his 
slain friend dragged Priam's mangled son around the 
walls of Troy. 


An Alcaic ode in the Horatian manner to his friend 
Septirnius, a younff man of equestrian family, who, like the 
future Emperor of that name, was born in Leptis in Africa. 
He had been a fellow-pupil of Vitorius Marcellus. 

Happy amid the glories of my small estate, where 
ancient Alba dwells in her Trojan home, I salute in 
unwonted strains the brave and eloquent Severus. 

'' The Ionian and Adriatic seas were proverbially dan- 
gerous for ships that preferred to hug the shore. 


ST ATI us 

iam ti'ux ad Arctos Parrhasias hiems 5 

concessit altis obruta solibus, 
iam pontus ac tellus renident 
in Zephyros Aquilone fracto.^ 

nunc cuncta veris^ frondibus annuis 
crinitur arbos, nunc volucruni novi 10 

questus inexpertumque carmen, 
quod tacita statuere^ bruma. 

nos parca tellus per\-igil et focus 
culmenque multo lumine sordidum 

solantur exemptusque testa 15 

qua modo ferbuerat Lyaeus. 

non mille balant lanigei-i greges, 
nee vacca dulci mugit adultero, 
unique siquando canenti 

mutus ager domino reclamat. 20 

sed terra primis post patriam mihi 
dilecta curis ; hie mea carmina 
regina bellorum virago 
Caesareo peramavit* auro, 

cum tu sodalis dulce periculum 25 

conisus omni pectore tolleres, 
ut Castor ad cunctos tremebat 
Bebryciae strepitus harenae. 

^ in ZephjTOS . . . fracto Buecheler, Krohn : iam zephiros 
. . . fractos M. 

* veris 31 : veri Bafhrens. Postgate punctuates after 
veris : sc. sunt. 

SILVAE, IV. V. 5 28 

At last harsh winter has fled to the Parrhasian 
North," o'erwhelnied by lofty suns ; at last the cold 
winds are softened into mild zephyrs, and sea and 
land are smiling. Now every tree puts forth her 
yearly tresses of spring leaves, now are heard the 
birds' new plainings and the unpractised songs which 
they planned in the silent winter. As for me, my 
thrifty domain and ever-wakeful hearth and rooftree 
blackened by many a fire console me, and the wine ^ 
that I take from the jar where lately it fermented. 
Here no thousand woolly sheep utter bleatings, no 
cow lows to its sweet lover ; and only to their 
master's voice, as he sings, whene'er he sings, do the 
mute fields re-echo. But this land, after my native 
country, holds first place in my love : here the maiden 
queen of battles " favoured my songs with Caesar's 
golden crown, when you, striving with all your might, 
succoured your friend in his joyous hazard, even as 
Castor trembled at all the noise of the Bebrycian 
arena ."^ 

" From Callisto, an Arcadian maiden, who was turned 
into a bear by Hera out of jealousy, and then made the 
constellation of the Bear ; Parrhasus is a town in Arcadia. 

'' Bacchus, i.e. wine. 

" i.e., Pallas. The reference is to the golden olive-wreath that 
Mas the prize of victory in the Alban contest ; <•/. iv. 2. 67. 

"* When Pollux fought against Amycus, king of the 
Bebrycians, during the voj'age of the Argo. The meaning 
of 11. 25-26 seems to be that his friend gave him all the 
encouragement he could, being as anxious for him to win as 
Castor was when Pollux was fighting. 

' statuere M : tacuere conj. Phillimore. 
* peramavit M : decoravit Markland : reparavit conj. 



tene in remotis Syrtibus avia 
Leptis creavit ? iam feret Indicas 30 

messes odoratisque rara 

cinnama praeripiet Sabaeis. 

quis non in omni vertice Romuli 
reptasse dulcem Septimium putet ? 

quis fonte luturnae relictis 35 

uberibus neget esse pastum ? 

nee mira virtus : protinus Ausonum 
portus vadosae nescius Africae 
intras adoptatusque Tuscis 

gurgitibus puer innatasti. 40 

hinc parvus inter pignora curiae 
contentus artae lumine purpurae 
crescis, sed inimensos labores 
indole patricia secutus. 

non sermo Poenus, non habitus tibi, 45 

externa non mens : Italus, Italus. 
sunt Urbe Romanisque turmis, 
qui Libyam deceant alumni. 

est et frementi vox hilaris foro, 
venale sed non eloquium tibi ; 50 

ensisque vagina quiescit, 
stringere ni iubeant amici. 

sed rura cordi saepius et quies, 
nunc in paternis sedibus et solo 

Veiente, nunc frondosa supra 55 

Hernica, nunc Curibus vetustis. 

" A spring in Rome. 

* The angusticlave, or two narrow purple stripes down 

SILVAE, IV. V. 29-56 

Did Leptis that loses itself in the distant Syrtes 
beget you ? soon shall she bear Indian harvests, 
and despoil tlie perfumed Sabaeans of their rare 
cinnamon. Who would not think that my sweet 
Septimius had crawled an inffint on all the hills of 
Rome ? Who would not say that he had drunk, his 
weaning done, of Juturna's fountain " ? Nor is your 
prowess to be wondered at : straightway, still 
ignorant of Africa and its shalloAvs, you entered the 
havens of Ausonia, and sailed, an adopted child, on 
Tuscan waters. Tlien, still a lad, you grew to man- 
hood among the sons of the Senate, content with the 
glory of the narrow purple,'' but witli patrician soul 
seeking unmeasured laboui-s. Neither your speech 
nor your dress is Punic,'' yours is no stranger's mind : 
Italian are you, Italian ! Yet in our city and among 
the knights of Rome are men who might well be 
foster-sons of Libya .<^ Pleasing too is your voice in 
tlie strident courts, but your eloquence is never venal ; 
your sword sleeps in its scabbard, save when your 
friends bid you draw it. But oftener do you enjov 
the quiet country, now in your father's home on 
\'eientine soil, now on the leafy heights of Hernica, 
now in ancient Cures. Here will you plan more 

the front of the tunic, was the mark of knighthood (see 
Preface to Book IV.), but young sons of knights were some- 
times granted the right of wearing- the laticlave, one broad 
purple stripe ; one may perhaps gather that this right was 
not granted in the case of Septimius. His soul, however, 
was truly noble (" patricia indole "). 

" From which one may gather that Roman families living 
in Africa sometimes showed traces of Carthaginian speech ; 
\'ollmer, however, takes this as meaning " your word is 
true," not characterized by " punica tides," as in 1. 4S. 

'' i.e., so untrustworthy are they. It could also be rendered : 
" Yes in the City . . . Libya has sons who would adorn her." 

VOL. I R 241 

ST ATI us 

hie plura pones vocibus et modis 
passu^ solutis, sed memor interim 
nostri verecundo latentem 

barbiton ingemina sub antro. 60 


Forte remittentem curas Phoeboque levatum 
pectora, cum patulis tererem vagus otia Saeptis 
iani moriente die, rapuit me cena benigni 
Vindicis. haec imos animi perlapsa recessus 
inconsumpta manet. neque enini ludibria ventris 5 
hausimus aut epulas diverso a sole petitas 
vinaque perpetuis aevo certantia fastis, 
a miseri ! quos nosse iuvat, quid Phasidis ales 
distet ab hiberna Rhodopes gi'ue, quis magis anser 
exta ferat, cur Tuscus aper generosior Umbro, 10 
lubrica qua recubent conchylia mollius alga : 
nobis verus amor medioque Helicone petitus 

^ passu Markland : passum M, passim 5". 

" The Saepta Julia was a much frequented public place 
in the Campus Martins, with some of the best shops in 
Rome ; see Mart. ii. 14, ix. 59. 

" The dinner has passed into the soul, and becomes a 
precious memory. \^ollmer quotes Cic. Tusc. v. 100, " vestrae 
quidem cenae non solum in praesentia, sed etiam postero 
die iucundae sunt,'" " your dinners delight one not at the 
time only, but also on the morrow " ; also Epicurus, who 
praises " plain living and high thinking." 

" The pheasant. 

■* Or, with more point in "hiberna," "a crane caught on 

SILVAE, IV. V. 57— VI. 12 

themes in the words and measures that move un- 
fettered, but remembering me at times strike anew 
the lyre that hes hid in some shy grotto. 


The poem consists chiefly of the description of the Hercules, 
a statuette {epitrapezios= statue to be put on a table) belonging 
to Novius Vindex, a connoisseur in art, who is mentioned by 
Martial (vii. 72. 7) in addition to the two epigrams in which 
the same statuette is described (ix. 43, 44-). The statue was 
a bronze, and represented the god as seated, loifh a goblet in 
one hand and the club in the other ; the type is a common one 
{see Roscher's Lexicon der Mythol. i. 2176). It is clear that 
both Statius and Martial, as well as Novius, took it for a 
genuine work of Lysippus. 

One day when putting aside my tasks with heart 
unburdened by Phoebus I was wandering aimlessly at 
sundown in the broad spaces of the Enclosure,** kind 
Vindex took me off to dine. That feast sank deep into 
the recesses of my soul,** and remains unconsumed. 
For it Avas no wanton dainties of the belly that we 
devoured, no sMeetmeats sought under distant suns, 
no wines whose ages rival our continuous Annals. 
Unhappy they whose delight is to know how the bird 
of Phasis " differs from a crane of wintry Rhodope,*^ 
what kind of goose has the largest liver, why a 
Tuscan boar is richer than an Umbrian, on what 
seaweed the slippery shell-fish most comfortably 
recline : as for us, real affection and discourse 
fetched from the heart of Helicon and merry jests 

Pihodope in winter," i.e. a rarity, as cranes always flew 
south in winter. 


ST ATI us 

sermo hilaresque ioci brumalem absumere noctem 

suaserunt niollenique oculis expellere somnuni, 

donee ab Elysiis prospexit sedibus alter 15 

Castor et hesternas risit Tithonia mensas. 

o bona nox iunctaque utinani Tirynthia luna ! 

nox et Erythraeis Thetidis signanda lapillis 

et memoranda diu geniumque habitura perennem ! 

mille ibi tunc species aerisque eborisque vetusti 20 

atque locuturas mentito corpore ceras 

edidici. quis namque oculis certaverit usquani 

Vindicis, artificum veteres agnoscere ductus 

et non inscriptis auctorem reddere signis ? 

hie tibi quae docto multum vigilata Myroni 25 

aera, laboriferi vivant quae marmora caelo 

Praxitelis, quod ebur Pisaeo pollice rasum, 

quid Polycliteis iussum spirare caminis, 

linea quae veterem longe fateatur Apellen, 

rnonstrabit : namque haec, quotiens chelyn exuit, illi 

desidia est, hie Aoniis amor avocat antris. 31 

Haec inter castae genius tutelaque mensae 
Amphitryoniades multo mea cepit amore 
pectora nee longo satiavit lumina visu : 
tantus honos operi finesque inclusa per artos^ 35 

maiestas ! deus ille, deus ! seseque videndum 
indulsit, Lysippe, tibi parvusque \-ideri 
sentirique ingens ! et cum mirabilis intra 

^ finesque . . . perartosS": finesque (tenuesque, iuvenesque 
edd.) per artus M. 

" Castor and Pollux were allowed to live on alternate 
days : Tithonia is the Dawn. 

" i.e., such a night as that wherein Hercules was begotten, 
of twice the usual length. 

" i.e., pearls, fetched from the Erji;hraean sea ; an im- 


SILVAE, IV. VI. 13-38 

persuaded us to sit out a winter's night and to banisli 
soft sleep from our eyes, until the other Twin ^ 
looked forth from Elysium, and Tithonia laughed at 
yesterday's banquet. O night of bliss ! would it 
liad been Tirynthian, with moon added to moon ! * 
a night to be marked with the Erythraean gems '^ of 
Thetis, a night to be long told of, a night whose 
spirit '^ will live for ever ! There and then did I 
learn of a thousand beauties of bronze and ancient 
ivory, and deceiving shapes of wax on the verge of 
speech. For who ever rivalled the keen glance of 
Vindex in recognizing the hand of an old master and 
telling the author of an untitled work ? 'Tis he who 
will show you on what bronzes cunning Myron spent 
anxious vigils, what marbles the chisel of untiring 
Praxiteles has made to live, what ivories the thumb 
of the Pisaean « has smoothed, what statues have 
been bidden breathe in Polyclitus' furnaces, what 
lines confess from afar the old Apelles ; for this, 
whensoe'er he puts his lyre from him, is his leisure, 
this passion calls him fi'om Aonian ■'' dells. 

Amid these treasures was a Hercules, the deity 
and guardian of his frugal board, with which I fell 
deeply in love ; nor, though long I gazed, were my 
eyes sated with it ; such dignity had the work, such 
majesty, despite its narrow limits. A god was he, 
ay, a god ! and he granted thee to behold him, 
Lysippus, small to the eye, yet a giant to the mind ! 
And though his stature be marvellously confined 

provement on the usual " chalk," as a means of marking 
a " white " day. Thetis was a sea-goddess. 

^ For " genius " see note on ii. 7. 132. 

'' Phidias, famed for his chryselephantine statue of Zeus 
at Olympia (Pisa). 

' i.e., of the Muses (= Boeotian). 



stet mensura pedem, tamen exclamare libebit, 

si visus per membra feres : " hoc pectore pressus 40 

vastator Nemees, haec exitiale ferebant 

robur et Argoos frangebant braehia remos." 

a ! spatio^ tam magna brevi mendacia formae ! 

quis modus in dextra, quanta experientia docti 

artificis curis, pariter gestamina mensae 45 

fingere et ingentes animo versare colossos ! 

tale nee Idaeis quicquam Telehines in antris 

nee stolidus Brontes nee, qui polit arma deorum, 

Lemnius exigua potuisset ludere massa. 

nee torva effigies epulisque aliena remissis, 50 

sed qualem parci domus admirata Molorclu 

aut Aleae lucis vidit Tegeaea sacerdos ; 

qualis et Oetaeis emissus in astra favillis 

nectar adhuc torva laetus lunone bibebat : 

sic mitis vultus, veluti de pectore gaudens, 55 

hortatur mensas. tenet haec marcentia fratris 

pocula, at haec clavae^ meminit manus ; aspera sedis^ 

sustinet et cultum Nemeaeo tegmine saxum. 

Digna operi fortuna sacro. Pellaeus habebat 
regnator laetis numen venerabile mensis 60 

et comitem occasus secum portabat et ortus, 
praestabatque^ libens modo qua diademata dextra 

^ a ! spatio Baelirens : ac spatium J/, hoc Pol., an Dom., 
nee PhiUimore, spatio Dom. 
^ clavae Markland : levae M. 
' sedis 3/(=sedes ace. to Vollmer). 
* praestabatque M : prensabatque Pol. 

" This appears to be a direct reference to the " crab " 
caught by Hercules in the Argo through the breaking of his 
oar (see the Argonantica of \"a]erius Flaccus, iii. 476). 

* "magna" by hypaJlage for "magnae"; the same idea 

SIU^AE, IV. VI. 39-62 

within a foot's height, yet will you be fain to cry, as 
you cast your eyes o'er his limbs : " This is the 
breast that crushed the ravager of Nemea, these the 
arms that bore the deadly club, and broke the oars 
of Argo." ^ To think that a tiny frame should hold 
the illusion of so mighty ^ a form ! What preciseness 
of touch, what daring imagination the cunning master 
had, at once to model an ornament for the table 
and to conceive in his mind mighty colossal forms ! 
No such work could Telchines in the caves of Ida, or 
dull Brontes or the Lemnian '^ who makes bright the 
armour of the gods have playfully fashioned from 
some small lump of metal. No wrathful likeness was 
it, unsuited to the gaiety of the feast, but in such 
mood as the home of thrifty Molorchus '^ marvelled 
to behold, or the Tegean priestess " in Alea's groves ; 
or as when, sent heavenward from Oeta's ashes, he 
joyfully drank the nectar, though Juno still frowned : 
with even so kindly a countenance, as if rejoicing 
from his heart, doth he cheer the banquet. One 
hand holds his brother's tipsy goblet, but the other 
forgets not his club ; a rocky seat supports him, and 
the Nemean lionskin drapes the stone. 

So divine a work had a worthy fate. It was a 
deity revered at the merry banquets of the Pellaean 
monarch,^ and alike in East and West it bore him 
company ; gladly did he set it before him, with that 
same hand that had given crowns and taken them 

is expressed in lines 37 and 45, i.e. the artist's skill in 
making a small image convey the impression of giant form. 

" \'ulcan. 

''■ The cottager who entertained Hercules when about to 
slay the lion of Nemea. 

' Auge, for whom see note on iii. 1. 40. 

' Alexander the Great. 


ST ATI us 

abstulerat dederatque et magnas verterat urbes. 
sempei' ab hoc animos in crastina bella petebat, 
huic acies semper victor narrabat opimas, 65 

sive catenates Bromio detraxerat Indos 
seu clusam magna Babylona refregerat hasta 
seu Pelopis terras libertatemque Pelasgam 
obruerat bello : magnoque ex agmine laudum 
fertur Thebanos tantum excusasse triumphos. 70 

ille etiam, magnos Fatis rumpentibus actus, 
cum traheret letale merum, iam mortis opaca 
nube gravis vultus alios in numine caro 
aeraque supremis timuit sudantia mensis. 

Mox Nasamoniaco decus admii'abile regi 75 

possessum ; fortique dec libavit honores 
semper atrox dextra periuroque ense superbus 
Hannibal. Italicae perfusum sanguine gentis 
diraque Romuleis portantem incendia tectis 
oderat. et cum epulas, et cum Lenaea dicaret 80 

dona, deus castris maerens comes ire nefandis, 
praecipue cum sacrilega face miscuit arces 
ipsius immeritaeque domos ac templa Sagunti 
polluit et populis furias immisit honestas. 

\ec post Sidonii letum ducis aere potita 85 

egregio plebeia domus. convivia Syllae^ 
ornabat semper claros intrare penates 
adsuetum et felix dominorum stemmate signum. 

Nunc quoque, si mores humanaque pectora curae 
nosse deis ; non aula quidem, Tirynthie, nee te 90 

^ Syllae Dom, : sibillae M. 

" Bacchus also was supposed to have conducted successful 
campaigns in India, see note on iv. 2. 49. 

*" Alexander captured and destroyed Thebes, which 


SILVAE, IV. VI. 63-90 

away, and had ruined mighty cities. From it he 
sought courage for to-morrow's battle, to it he 
related, triumphant, the glorious fight, whether he 
had despoiled Bromius of fettered Indians," or Mith 
his strong spear had burst the enclosing walls of 
Babylon, or overwhelmed in war the lands of Pelops 
and Pelasgian freedom ; and of all that tale of 
mighty deeds he is said to have asked pardon only 
for his Theban triumph.'' He too, when the T'ates 
cut short his prowess, and he drank the deadly 
draught, in the very gloom and heaviness of death, 
was afraid at the altered face of his favourite deity, 
and at the bronzes that dripped sweat at that last 

Next its marvellous beauty was possessed by the 
Nasamonian "^ chief ; and Hannibal, that ruthless 
warrior, haughty and treacherous in fight, paid 
honoui's to the valiant god. Yet the god hated him, 
drenched in Italian blood and threatening Roman 
homes with terrible flame, ay, even when he set 
feasting and gifts of wine before him ; in sorrow did 
the god go forth with that cursed troop, especially 
when his own shrines were impiously fired, when the 
homes and temples of innocent Saguntum were out- 
raged, and its people filled with righteous frenzy. 

And after the death of the Sidonian leader 'twas 
no plebeian house obtained the peerless bronze. 
Kver wont to enter famous houses and blest in the 
lineage of its lords it adorned the feasts of Sulla. 

NoAv too, if deities care to know the hearts and 
souls of men, no palace, no royal pomp surrounds 
thee, O Tirynthian, but thy master's soul is pure and 

revolted against him. Thebes was the birthplace of 

* = African, i.e. Hannibal. 



regius ambit honos, sed casta ignaraque culpae 
mens domini, cui prisca fides coeptaeque perenne 
foedus amicitiae. scit adhuc florente sub aevo 
par magnis ^^estinus avis, quem nocte dieque 
spirat et in carae vivit complexibus umbrae. 95 

hie igitur tibi laeta quies, fortissime divum, 
Alcide, nee bella vides pugnasque feroces, 
sed chelyn et vittas et amantes carmina laurus. 
hie tibi solemni memorabit carmine, (juantus 
Iliacas Geticasque domos quantusque nivalem 100 
Stymphalon quantusque iugis Erymanthon aquosis 
terruei'is, quem te pecoris possessor Hiberi, 
quem tulerit saevae Mareoticus arbiter arae. 
hie penetrata tibi spoliataque limina mortis 
concinet et flentes Libyae Scythiaeque puellas. 105 
nee te regnator Macetum nee barbarus umquam 
Hannibal aut saevi posset vox horrida Syllae 
his celebrare modis. certe tu, muneris auctor, 
non aliis malles oculis, Lysippe, probari. 


lam diu lato satiata^ campo 
fortis heroos, Erato, labores 
differ atque ingens opus in minores 
contrahe gyros ; 

^ satiata 5": sociata M : spatiata 5", PliilUmore, cf. Theb. 
ix. 213. 

" The exploits of Hercules referred to are Trojan war, 
horses of Diomede, Stymphalian birds, Erymanthian boar, 
Gerj'on, Busiris, Alcestis and Cerberus, Plesperides, 

' i.e., Macedonians. 


SILVAE, IV. VI. 91— VII. 4 

innocent of error ; old-world loyalty is his, and the 
unfailing bond of a friendship once begun. Vestinus 
knows it, Avho even in youth equalled his mighty 
sires, and whose spirit Vindex breathes by night and 
day, and lives in the embrace of that beloved shade. 
Here then hast thou a welcome resting-place, Alcides, 
most valiant of gods, nor beholdest battles or savage 
fights, but the lyre and chaplets and music-loving 
bays. Here in solemn chant will he recount to thee 
in what might thou didst terrify Getic and Ilian 
homes and snowy Stymphalus and Erymanthus with 
its streaming ridges ; how the owner of the Iberian 
herd, how the Mareotic guardian of the cruel shrine 
endured thy power ; he will sing of the gates of 
Death penetrated and spoiled by thee, of the weeping 
maids of Libya and of Scythia." Neither the ruler 
of the Macetae ^ nor barbarous Hannibal nor the 
uncouth accents of fierce Sulla could e'er have 
celebrated thee in such strains. And of a surety 
thou, Lysippus, the author of the gift, wouldst not 
have chosen to be approved by other eyes than these. 


A Sapphic ode in which the poet expresses his desire to 
see his friend again, and congratulates him on the birth of a 
son. Vibiiis Maximus was serving in Ikdmatia ; at a later 
time he was prefect of Egypt, as we learn from an inscription 
(C.I.L. iii. 38). One may also gather that he had literary 

Long time, bold Erato, hast thou had thy fill of 
the spreading field, but now put off thy heroic laboui-s 
and contract thy mighty task to narrower circles ; 


ST ATI us 

tuque, regnator lyricae cohortis, 5 

da novi paulum niihi iura plectri, 
si tuas cantu Latio sacravi, 
Pindare, Thebas : 

Maximo carmen tenuare tempto ; 
nunc ab intonsa capienda myrto 10 

serta, nunc maior sitis et bibendus 
castior amnis. 

quando te dulci Latio remittent 
Dalmatae montes, ubi Dite viso 
pallidus fossor redit erutoque 15 

concolor auro ? 

ecce me natum propiore terra 
non tamen portu retinent amoeno 
desides Baiae liticenve notus 

Hectoris armis.^ 20 

torpor est nostris sine te Camenis, 
tardius sueto venit ipse Thymbrae 
rector et priniis meus ecce metis 
haeret Achilles. 

quippe te fido monitore nostra 25 

Thebais multa cruciata lima 
temptat audaci fide Mantuanae 
gaudia famae. 

sed damns lento veniam, quod alma 
prole fundasti vacuos penates. 30 

o diem laetum ! venit ecce nobis 
Maximus alter ! 


SILVAE, IV. VII. 5-32 

and thou, Pindar, ruler of the lyric choir, grant me 
awhile the privilege of unwonted song, if I have 
hallowed thy own Thebes in Latin strains : 'tis for 
Maximus that I attempt to refine my verse ; now 
must I take my garlands from unplucked myrtle, 
now a nobler thirst is mine, a purer stream must be 
quaffed. When wilt thou return again to pleasant 
Latium from the Dalmatian mountains, where the 
miner returns all pale at the sight of Dis and yellow 
as the gold he has unearthed ? "■ Lo ! I, though 
born in nearer lands, am not held fast by lazy Baiae's 
lovely haven, or by the trumpeter known to Hector's 
battles.'' Without thee my Muse is sluggish, even 
Thymbra's lord '^ is slower than of wont in his coming, 
and lo ! my Achilles halts at the first turning-point 
of his course : while it is with thee for trusty 
counsellor that my Tkebaid, tortured by endless 
polishing, attempts with audacious string the joys of 
Mantuan renown. But we pardon thy delaying, 
because thou hast established thy empty home with 
flourishing offspring. O happy day ! lo ! a second 

" Statins here is clearly imitating Silius Italicus, Pun. i. 
i. 231. 

Astur avarus 
visceribus lacerae telluris niergitiir imis 
et redit infelix effosso concolor auro. 

For other mentions of Dalmatian mines cf. i. 2. 153 and 
iii. 3. 90. " Dis " : i.e. he has descended so far into the 
earth (Dis= Pluto). 

'' Misenus. « Apollo, god of inspiration. 

^ liticenve . . . armis ed. Parmensis : laticemve motus 
Hectoris amnis M, 



orbitas omni fugienda nisu, 
quam preniit votis inimicus heres, 
optimo poscens — pudet heu ! — propinquum 35 
funus amico.^ 

orbitas nullo tumulata fletu : 
stat domo capta cupidus superstes 
imminens leti spoliis et ipsum 

computat ignem. 40 

duret in longuni generosus infans, 

perque non miiltis iter expeditum 

crescat in mores patrios avumqiie 

provocet actis ! 

tu tuos parvo meniorabis enses, 45 

quos ad Eoum tuleris^ Orontem 
signa frenatae moderatus alae 
Castore dextro ; 

ille ut invicti rapiduni secutus 
Caesaris fulmen refugis aniaram 50 

Sarmatis legem dederit, sub uno 
vivere caelo. 

sed tuas artes puer ante discat, 
omne quis mundi senium remensus 
orsa Sallusti brevis et Timavi 55 

reddis alumnum. 

^ propinquum funus amico 5" and edd. : propinquo . . . 
amici M : propinquo . . . amice Krohn, Klotz. 
* tuleris Avantius : tuleras M. 


SILVAE, IV. VII. 33 56 

Maximus conies to us ! Childlessness " must be 
shunned by every effort ; the heir with hostile vow^s 
presses liard upon it, asking — ah ! for shame ! — that 
his best friend soon may die. Childlessness wins 
no tears at the grave ; in the captured house stands 
the greedy survivor, eager for the spoils of death, 
and counts the cost of the vei-y pyre. Long live the 
high-born babe, and, by a path that few may tread, 
may he grow into his father's virtues, and rival his 
grandsire by his deeds ! Thou shalt tell thy child how 
thou didst lead thy swordsmen to Eastern Orontes, 
commanding 'neath Castor's favour ^ the banners of 
thy well-curbed squadrons. He shall relate how he 
followed the swift-flashing brand of invincible Caesar, 
and imposed a hard law on the fugitive Sarmatians," 
to live under one sky.<^ But first let the lad learn 
thy skill, whereby retracing all the old age of the 
world thou dost render again the woi'k of brief 
Sallust * and the foster-son of Timavus. 

" The poet himself was chiklless, but adopted a slave 
boy ; the death of this boy was deeplv felt by him (see 
V. 3). 

* As a cavalry leader he would be under the protection of 
Castor and Pollux, patrons of the Roman knights. 

* Domitian's campaign against the Sarmatians, 92-93. 
■* i.e., to cease to be nomads. 

* Apparently a sort of handbook of world-history, with 
an epitome of Sallust and Livy. 




Pande fores superum vittataque templa Sabaeis 
nubibus et pecudum fibris spirantibus imple, 
Parthenope ; clari genus ecce Meneeratis auget 
tertia iani soboles. proceruni tibi nobile vulgus 
crescit et insani solatur damna Vesaevi. 5 

nee solum festas secreta Neapolis aras 
ambiat : et socii portus dilectaque miti 
terra Dicarcheo nee non plaga cara madenti 
Surrentina deo sertis altaria cingat, 
materni qua litus avi, quern turba nepotum 10 

circuit et similes contendit reddere vultus. 
gaudeat et Libyca praesignis avunculus hasta, 
quaeque sibi genitos putat attollitque benigno 
Polla sinu. macte, o iuvenis, qui tanta merenti 
lumina das patriae, dulci tremit ecce tumultu 15 
tot dominis clamata domus. procul atra recedat 
Invidia atque alio liventia pectora flectat : 
his senium longaeque decus virtutis et alba 
Atropos et patrius laurus promisit Apollo, 
ergo quod Ausoniae pater augustissimus urbis 20 

ius tibi tergeminae dederat laetabile prolis, 
omen erat. venit totiens Lucina piumque 

" The eruption of Vesuvius took place in 79 a.d. 

*■, probably in some campaign against African tribes. 

" The " ius tritim liberorum,' on this occasion as on others 
(see Mart. iii. 95 ; Plin. Ep. x. 2) awarded purely as a com- 


SILVAE, IV. viii. 1-22 


This, like the last piece, is a GenetJiliacon, or birthday 
foein ; Statins congratulates his friend on the birth of his 
third child. Menecrates was the son-in-laio of Pollius Felix. 

Hing wide the thresholds of the gods, Parthenope, 
and fill the chaplet-hung shrines with clouds of 
Sheba's incense and tlie breathing entrails of victims! 
lo ! by yet a third offspring is the house of illustrious 
Menecrates increased. Thy noble host of princes 
grows and atones the loss that mad Vesuvius'^ caused 
thee. Nor let Naples in lonely isolation throng her 
festal altars ; let her fellow-haven and the land that 
gentle Dicarcheus loved and the Surrentine tract dear 
to the tipsy god enwreathe their shrines with gar- 
lands, — that shore M'here dwells the babe's maternal 
grandsire, with his crowd of grandchildren around 
him, rivalling each other in their likeness to him. 
Let the uncle too, famed for his Libyan spear,'' 
rejoice, and Polla, who counts them her own sons as 
she raises them to her loving bosom. A blessing on 
thee, O youth, who givest in due reward to thy 
country such bright progeny. Lo ! the house rocks 
with delightful tumult, ringing with the cries of so 
many masters. Avaunt, black Envy, turn elsewhere 
thy livid breasts ! To tliese hath white-robed 
Atropos promised old age and the glory of enduring 
wortli, and their native Apollo vouclisafed the bays 
of poesy. Therefore was it an omen that the most 
august sire of the Ausonian City had given thee the 
glad privilege of triple offspring.^ Thrice has Lucina 
come, and again and yet again visited thy dutiful 
VOL. I s 257 

ST ATI us 

iiitravit repetita larem. sic fertilis, oro, 

stet domus et donis numquam mutata sacratis. 

macte, quod et proles tibi saepius aucta virili 25 

robore, sed iuveni laetanda et^ virgo parent! 

— aptior his virtus, citius dabit ilia nepotes — , 

qualis materms Helene iam digna palaestris 

inter Amyclaeos reptabat Candida fratres ; 

vel qualis caeli facies, ubi nocte serena 30 

admovere iubar mediae duo sidera lunae. 

Sed queror haud faciles, iuvenum rarissime, questus 
irascorque etiam, quantum irascuntur amantes. 
tantane me decuit vulgari gaudia fama 
noscere ? cumque tibi vagiret tertius infans, 35 

protinus ingenti non venit nuntia cursu 
littera, quae festos cumulare altaribus ignes 
et redimire chelyn postesque ornare iuberet 
Albanoque cadum sordentem promere fumo 
et cantu signare diem, sed tardus inersque 40 

nunc demum mea vota cano ? tua culpa tuusque 
hie pudor, ulterius sed enim producere questus 
non licet ; en hilaris circumstat turba tuorum 
defensatque patrem. quem non hoc agmine vincas ? 

Di patrii, quos auguriis super aequora magnis -45 
litus ad Ausonium devexit Abantia classis, 
tu, ductor populi longe migrantis, Apollo, 
cuius adhuc volucrem laeva cervice sedentem 
respiciens blande felix Eumelis adorat, 

1 laetanda et Vollmer : letam dat M, laetandast Baehrens. 

" i.e., for the wrestling-bouts in Sparta, the home of I.eda, 
in which the Spartan girls took part Statins probably has 
Propertius iii. It in mind. 

* According to Homer the Aljantes inhabited Euboea. 

" i.e., Parthenope, daughter of Eumelus (who was perhaps 
the warrior at Troy so-called, the son of Admetus) ; she was 


SILVAE, IV. VIII. 23-49 

home. Long live that house, I pray, in fruitfuhiess 
and never robbed of its hallowed gifts ! A blessing 
on thee also, that thy issue was increased naore often 
by the strength of males, yet the girl too must needs 
delight her youthful father — for them is prowess 
more fitting, while she will the sooner bear him 
grandsons ; — so fair a child was Helen, as she walked 
between her Amyclaean brethren, yet ripe already 
for her mother's wrestling-bouts ; ** so fair is the face 
of heaven, when on a tranquil night two radiant stars 
draw near to the moon that shines between them. 

But I have a complaint, O rarest of youths, and no 
gentle one, ay, angry am I even, so far as love admits 
of anger. Was it right that common report should 
tell me of such joys ? and when thy tliird infant was 
wailing, did no letter straightway haste full speed to 
bid me heap the altar with festal flames and entwine 
my lyre and wreathe my portals, and bring out a 
cask sooted with Alban smoke and mark the day 
with song, but only now, a tardy laggard, do I 
celebrate my vows ? Thine is the fault, thine is the 
shame of it ! But I cannot further prolong my 
plaint ; lo ! in a merry crowd thy children surround 
thee, and defend their sire. Whom wouldst thou 
not conquer with such a troop ? 

Gods of our land, whom with mighty omens the 
Abantian ^ fleet conveyed o'er the sea to the Ausonian 
shore, and thou, Apollo, guide of thy far-wandering 
folk, whose bird seated on thy left shoulder prosperous 
Eumelis " lovingly beholds and worships, and thou, 

guided to Italy by a dove sent by Apollo, cf. iii. 5. 80. The 
reference is to the founding of Cumae by emigrants from 
Chalcis in Euboea, who probably brought with them the 
deities mentioned here, Apollo, Ceres, Castor and Pollux. 


ST ATI us 

tuque, Actaea^ Ceres, cursu cui semper anhelo 50 
votivam taciti quassamus lampada mystae, 
et vos, Tyndaridae, quos non horrenda Lycurgi 
Taygeta umbrosaeque magis coluere Therapnae : 
hos cum plebe sua, patrii,^ servate penates. 
sint, qui fessam aevo crebrisque laboribus urbem 55 
voce opibusque iuvent viridique in nomine servent, 
his placidos genitor mores largumque nitorem 
monstret avus, pulchrae studium virtutis uterque. 
quippe et opes et origo sinunt hanc^ lampade prima 
patricias intrare fores, hos pube sub ipsa, 60 

si modo prona bonis invicti Caesaris adsint 
numina, Romulei Hmen pulsare senatus. 


Est sane iocus iste, quod hbellum 
misisti mihi, Grype, pro hbello. 
urbanum tamen hoc potest videri, 
si post hoc aHquid mihi remittas ; 
nam si ludere, Grype, perseveras, 5 

non ludis. hcet, ecce, computemus ! 
noster purpureus novusque charta 
et binis decoratus umbiUcis, 

^ Actaea Pol. : acea M. 

^ patrli M : patriae Gronovius. 

^ hanc Gevart : hac M. 

" There was a worship of Demeter at Naples, and mysteries 
no doubt like those of Eleusis. 

'' One at each end of the stick on which the paper was 

SILVAE, IV. VIII. 50— IX. 8 

Attic Ceres, for wliom in brctatliless dance we thy 
mute votaries cease not to Avave the mystic torch,'' 
and you, ye Tyndarids, to whom not grim Taygetus, 
Lycurgus' mount, nor shady Therapnae gives truer 
worsliip : gods of our country, preserve this home 
with all its souls ! May there be those who by 
speech or wealth shall succour their city that age 
and many toils have wearied, and keep her as green 
and youthful as her name ! From their father may 
they learn gentle ways, and from their grandsire 
splendour that yet is bountiful, and from both the 
desire of glorious virtue. Assuredly their riches and 
their birth suffer the maid to enter patrician doors 
with the first marriage-torches, and the sons, so soon 
as manhood comes — if only the godhead of invincible 
Caesar favour the deserving — to tread the threshold 
of the Senate-house of Romulus. 


Tlie nuhjerf svggests CatuUvs, xiv. 12. Stathis rfhulves 
Plotixs Ori/pus/or giving him an unwortliy present in return 
for a fne one. Tlie hendecasgJlahle v<is a favourite metre 
for comic or gibing verse. 

Yours was indeed a jest, Grypus, to send me a 
book in return for a book ! And yet even that may 
seem graceful, if after it you send me something 
worth having ; for if, Grypus, you keep on with 
such jests, they are jests no longer. Look, we can 
reckon the account. Mine, painted purple, its paper 
new, adorned with two knobs,* cost me, besides my 



praeter me mihi constitit decussis'^ : 

tu rosum tineis situque putrem, 10 

quales aut Libycis madent olivis 

aut tus Niliacum piperve servant 

aut Byzantiacos colunt^ lacertos, 

nee saltern tua dicta continentem, 

quae trino iuvenis foro tonabas, 15 

aut centum prope iudices, priusquam 

te Germanicus arbitrum sequenti 

annonae dedit oniniumque late 

praefecit stationibus viarum, 

sed Bruti senis oscitationes 20 

de capsa niiseri libellionis 

emptum plus minus asse Galano, 

donas, usque adeone defuerunt 

caesis pillea suta de lacernis 

vel mantelia luridaeve mappae, 25 

chartae, Thebaicaeve Caricaeve ? 

nusquam turbine conditus ruenti 

prunorum globus atque cottanorum ? 

non enlychnia sicca, non replictae 

bulborum tunicae ? nee ova tantum 3t) 

^ decussus M : decussi Turnebus. 
^ colunt 3/ : olent Heinslus. 

" Roman, Julian, and Augustan. Courts of law were 
often situated in the buildings of the "fora." 

* See iv. 4. 43 n. It usually sat in the Basilica Julia, in 
the Forum Romanum. 

" It is a question whether these are two posts or one : 
if the former, they would be the prefectship of the corn- 
supply, and supervision of the relay-stations on the great 
highways ; if the latter, it has been suggested that the post 
was one of organizing supplies for Domitian's last Dacian 
campaign, or, as Hirschfeld thinks, of commissariat officer 


SILVAE, IV. IX. 9-30 

own trouble, well, certainly a ten-as piece ! Yours, 
moth-eaten and mouldering, like those that are 
soaked by Libyan olives, or wrap up incense or 
pepper from the Nile, or cultivate the Byzantine 
tuimy ; not containing even your own youthful 
speeches that you thundered at the three Courts ^ 
or the Hundred Judges,^ before Germanicus placed 
the obedient corn-supply under your control, or put 
you in chai-ge of the posts on all the roads,^ but the 
mumblings of ancient Brutus <* out of a wretched 
book-peddler's case, that cost you, roughly shall we 
say, an as of Gains *" — that was your present ! Were 
there then no more felt caps stitched together from 
rags of tunics, no towels or faded napkins ? no writing- 
paper, or Theban dates, or Carian figs ? nowhere a 
bunch of plums or Syrian figs packed in a collapsible 
case / ? no dry wicks or cast-off jackets of onions ? 

for Doniitian when on the march (" sequent! " might support 

''■ The friend of Cicero and murderer of Caesar, "senis," 
because he dates so long back. 

« The Emperor Gains had debased tlie coinage. 

f Apparently a cone-shaped case ("turbo" is commonly 
used of objects so shaped, e.f/. a top) ; "ruenti " suggests that 
the contents could easily be upset into the purchaser's bag ; 
at any rate it would be a purely temporary receptacle, which 
is the point here ; a paper bag, or paper screw would be the 
modern equivalent. Vollmer compares Mart. xiii. i?5 (of a 
packet of pine-cones), " poma sumus Cybeles : procul hinc 
discede viator, ne cadat in miserum nostra ruina caput." 
The "torta meta " in which "cottana" were packed, Mart, 
xiii. 28, may also be compared. "Cottana" were smaller 
than ordinary figs; as Mart, says, "si maiora forent 
cottana, ficiis erat." The reader may also be referred to 
Martial's ISth book, in which a large number of Xenia, or 
presents for the Saturnalia, are described, each in a couplet ; 
e.ff. incense (4), figs (23), cheeses (30-3.S), sausage (35), etc. 


ST ATI us 

nee lenes^ haliccae nee asperum far ? 

nusquam Cinypliiis vagata campis 

eurvaruni donius uda eoelearuni ? 

non lardura grave debilisve perna ? 

non lucanica, non graves falisci, 35 

non sal oxyporumve caseusve, 

aut panes viridantis aphronitri 

vel passum psithiis suis recoctum, 

dulci defruta vel lutosa caeno ? 

quantum nee dare cereos olentes, 40 

cultelluni^ tenuesve codicillos ? 

ollares, rogo, non licebat uvas, 

Cumano patinas in orbe tortas 

aut unam dare synthesin — quid horres ? — 

alborum calicuni atque caccaborum ? 45 

sed certa velut aequus in statera, 

nil mutas, sed idem mihi rependis. 

quid si, cum bene mane semicrudus 

inlatam^ tibi dixero salutem, 

et tu me vicibus domi salutes ? 50 

aut, cum me dape iuveris opima, 

exspectes similes et ipse cenas ? 

irascor tibi, Grype. sed valebis ; 

tantum ne mihi, quo soles lepore, 

et nunc hendecasyllabos remittas. 55 

^ lenes He ins i us : leves M. 

^ cultelluin r : cutellum M: scutellum Slater. 

* inlatam 31 : inlotam Scriverius. 


SILVAE, IV. IX. 31-55 

no eggs even, oi* fine flour, or coarse spelt ? not tlie 
slimy shell of a curving snail that had strayed far on 
the Cinyphian plains ? "- no rancid fat or gristly 
ham ? no sausage, no tougli haggis ? no salt, no 
pickle, no cheese ? or cakes of green saltpetre ? or 
raisin-wine boiled grapes and all ? or must made 
muddy by sweet lees ? How unkind, not to give me 
smelly candles, or a knife, or a tiny notebook ! 
Pray, could you not have sent some tinned grapes, or 
some plates turned on the wheel at Cumae ? * or 
even one set '^ — why do you start ? — of white cups 
and pots ? No, like a fair dealer with a correct scale, 
you dock nothing, but give me exactly equal weight. 
But look ! I get up betimes, feeling rather queasy, 
and bring you my morning greeting : are you to 
return it at my house ? you have regaled me with a 
luxurious feast : do you expect a similar repast your- 
self? I am angry with you, Grypus ! However, 
farewell ! only do not with your usual wit send me 
back gibing verses by return of post ! 

" i.f., African snails, which were often shell-less. 

* The cheapest kind of pottery was tliat of Cumae. 

" The point of this is that "synthesis" can also mean a 
set of wearing-apparel, usually of a costlj' kind, as in Mart, 
ii. 46. 4. 



Statius Abascanto suo Salutem 

Omnibus affectibus pi'osequenda sunt bona exera- 
pla, cum publice prosint. Pietas, quam Priscillae 
tuae praestas, et morum tuoruni pars et nulli non 
conciliare te, praecipue marito, potest. Uxorem 
enim vivam amare voluptas est, defunctam religio. 
Ego tamen huic operi non ut unus e turba nee tantum 
quasi officiosus adsilui. Amavit enim uxorem meam 
Priscilla et amando fecit mihi illam probatiorem ; 
post hoc ingratus sum, si lacrimas tuas transeo. 
Praeterea latus omne divinae domus semper demereri 
pro mea mediocritate conitor. Nam qui bona fide 
deos colit, amat et sacerdotes. Sed quam vis pro- 
piorem usum^ amicitiae tuae iampridem cuperem, 
mallem tamen nondum invenisse materiam. 

^ usum Pol. : visum M. 

" " latus " here means those who are " a latere principis," 
see note on iii. 3. 65, and cf. v. 1. 187, and for different uses 
V. 1. 80, iii. 3. 120. 

* The reference is, of course, to the Imperial House. 

" He seems to mean that the death of Priscilla had drawn 
Abascantus and himself closer together. Vollmer, however. 



Statius to his Friend Abascantus : Greeting ! 

Good examples should be whole-lieartedly honoured, 
since they are publicly beneficial. The devotion 
which you show to your Priscilla is a true part of 
your character, and must needs win you the affection 
of all, especially of a husband. For to love a wife is 
a joy, while she is alive, and a religion, when she is 
departed. It was not, however, as a mere stranger 
that I undertook this task, nor only with the readiness 
of one bound by ties of duty. For Priscilla loved my 
wife, and by that love made her more worthy in my 
eyes ; after that it were ingratitude in me to take 
no notice of your grief. Further, I always strive, 
insignificant as I am, to deserve well of all adherents 
of the Sacred Palace." For he who in good fiiith 
worships the gods, loves their priests also.** But 
although I had long desired a more intimate experi- 
ence of your friendship," yet I would rather the 
occasion had not come so soon. 

understands by the phrase, "a more intimate use of j'our 
friendship," an opportunity of dedicating a poem to one in 
so high a position. 



Si raanus aut .similes docilis luilii fingere ceras 
aut ebur impressis aurumve auiinare figuris, 
hinc, Priscilla, tuo solacia grata marito 
conciperem. namque egregia pietate meretur, 
ut vel Apelleo vultus signata colore, 5 

Phidiaca vel nata manu reddare dolenti. 
sic auferre regis umbrani conatur et ingens 
certamen cum Morte gerit curasque fatigat 
artificum inque omni te quaerit amare metallo. 
sed mortalis honos, agilis quern dextra laborat. 10 
nos tibi. laudati iuvenis rarissima coniunx, 
longa nee obscurum finem latura perenni 
temptamus dare iusta lyra, modo dexter Apollo 
quique venit iuncto mihi semper Apolline Caesar 
annuat : baud alio melius condere sepulcro. 15 

Sera quidem tanto struitur medicina dolori, 
altera cum volucris Phoebi rota torqueat annum ; 
sed cum plaga recens et adhuc in vulnere prime 
nigra^ domus, miseram quis tunc^ accessus ad aurem 
coniugis orbati ? tunc flere et scindere vestes 20 
et famulos lassare greges et vincere planctus 
Fataque et iniustos rabidis pulsare querelis 
caelicolas solamen erat. licet ipse levandos 

^ ni^ra 3/ : aegra Heinsius. 

^ miseram quis tunc P/illlimore : quaestu miseramque 
M : questu miseram qui MacnagJiten : quis tum miserandam 

" The allusion is to the struggle of Hercules with Death 
for Alcestis : here the husband strives to rescue his wife from 
death by making a living image of lier. Priscilla's body 
was not burnt, but embalmed, and placed in a shrine, such 
as Cicero wished to build for his daughter Tullia (Ad Att. 
xii. 19). Poppaea, too, was embalmed (Tac. Arai. xvi. 6). 

SILVAE, V. I. 1-23 


Prise ilia was tJie wife of Abascantus, who Iield the im- 
portant post of Secretary of State to Domitian. This 
epicedion follows the usual lilies of such poems, see Introd. to 
ii. 1. 

Had I but skill of hand to mould likenesses in 
wax or to leave a living impress upon gold or ivory, 
thence would I imagine, Pi-iscilla, a grateful solace 
for thy husband. For his conspicuous devotion 
merits that thou thyself, whether painted by Apelles' 
brush or given life by Phidian ai't, shouldst be brought 
back to calm his grief ; so valiantly strives he to 
rescue tliy ghost from the pyre, and wages a mighty 
struggle with Death,** and exhausts the cunning of 
the craftsmen, and in every metal would fain show 
his love of thee. But mortal is the honour that toil 
of clever hands can pay : 'tis the poet's endeavour to 
bring thee, peerless consort of a youth renowned, a 
tribute that will endure nor suffer oblivion at the 
last, the due offering of eternal song, if only Apollo 
be propitious, and Caesar, who ever in Apollo's 
company aids me, gives assent ; no other nobler 
sepulchre wilt thou find. 

Late indeed is the balm composed for so great a 
sorrow, when yet once more the wheels of Phoebus 
are bringing round the year ; but when the stroke 
is recent and the house still sable-clad in the first 
shock of woe, what access then to the poor husband 
in his loss ? Then were it solace enough to weep 
and tear the raiment, to fatigue troops of slaves and 
outdo their lamentations, to assail the Fates and an 
unjust heaven with wild and frenzied cries. Though 



ad geniitus sihis comitatus et amiiibus Orpheus 
adforet atque oninis pariter matertera vatem, 25 

omnis Apollineus tegeret Bacchique sacerdos : 
nil cantus, nil fila deis pallentis Averni 
Eumenidumque audita comis niulcere valerent : 
tantus in attonito regnabat pectore luctus ! 
nunc etiam ad planctus i-efugit iam plana cicatrix, 30 
dum canimus, gravibusque oculis uxorius instat 
imber. habentne pios etiamnum haec lumina fletus ? 
mira fides ! citius genetrix Sipyleia fertur^ 
exhausisse genas, citius Tithonida maesti 
deficient rores aut exsatiata fatiscet 35 

mater Achilleis hiemes adfrangere bustis. 
macte animi ! notat ista deus, qui flectit habenas 
orbis et humanos propior love digerit actus, 
maerentemque videt ; lectique arcana ministri ! 
hinc etiam documenta capit, quod diligis umbram 40 
et colis exsequias. hie est castissimus ardor, 
hie amor a domino meritus censore probari. 
Nee mirum, si vos collato pectore mixtos 
iunxit inabrupta Concordia longa catena, 
ilia quidem nuptumque pi-ior taedasque marito 45 
passa alio, sed te ceu virginitate iugatum 
visceribus totis animaque amplexa fovebat ; 
qualiter aequaevo sociatam palmite vitem 
ulmus amat miscetque nemus ditemque precatur 
autumnum et caris gaudet redimita racemis. 50 

^ Sipj^leia fertur £" : si pelea fertur M: Sipylea feretiir 

" Xiobe, Aurora (for her son Memnon) and Thetis. 

*" The reference no doubt is to Domitian's activities as 
Censor Morum. 

silvap:, v. I. 24-50 

Orpheus himself with woods and streams for com- 
pany came to assuage thy groans, though all his 
motlier's sisters and every priest of Bacchus and 
Apollo sustained the minstrel, yet nought would 
avail to give relief, not music, not those strings 
whereto the gods of pale Avernus and the Furies' 
locks paid heed : such anguish held sway in his dis- 
tracted heart. Even now does the scar though 
smooth yet wince at my lament, and the rain of a 
husband's love forces itself into those burdened eyes. 
E'en yet do those orbs hold pious drops ? O marvellous 
truth ! Sooner, as they say, does the Sipylean dame 
drain dry her tears, or the dews of sorrow fail 
Tithonia, or Achilles' mother grow weary and sated 
of breaking her wild waves against his tomb." Bless 
thy passionate soul ! the god who holds the reins of 
earth, he who nearer than Jove directs the doings of 
mankind — lie marks thee and beholds thy grief ; 
and hence also doth he take secret knowledge of his 
chosen minister, because thou lovest her shade and 
honourest her in death. Here is a zeal that is pure 
indeed, a passion that merits the praise of thy keen- 
searching lord.** 

Yet 'tis no wonder, if long-enduring Harmony 
bound you by an unbroken chain in the close union 
of Jieart with heart. She indeed had known a 
former husband and the torches of earlier wedlock, 
yet did she embrace and cherish thee with all her 
soul and inmost being, as though she were a virgin 
bride ; even so does the elm love the clinging tendrils 
of the coeval vine, and mingles with its foliage and 
prays tliat autumn may bring it richness and rejoices 
in its dear entwining clusters. Women who lack the 


ST ATI us 

laudantur proavis seu^ pulchrae munere forniae, 
quae morum caruere bonis, falsoque'^ potentes 
laudis egent verae : tibi quamquam et origo niteret 
et felix species multumque optanda maritis, 
ex te maior honos, unum novisse cubile, 55 

unum secretis agitare sub ossibus ignem. 
ilium nee Phrvgius vitiasset raptor amorem 
Dulichiive proci nee qui fraternus adulter 
casta Mvcenaeo conubia polluit auro. 
si Babylonos opes, Lydae si pondera gazae 60 

Indorumque dares Serunique Arabunique potentes 
divitias, mallet cum paupertate pudica 
intemerata mori vitamque rependere famae. 
nee frons triste rigens nimiusque in moribus horror, 
sed simplex hilarisque fides et mixta pudori 65 

gratia, quod si anceps metus ad maiora vocasset, 
ilia vel armiferas pro coniuge laeta catervas 
fulmineosque ignes mediique pericula ponti 
exciperet. melius, quod non adversa probarunt, 
quae tibi cura tox*i, quantus pro coniuge pallor ! 70 
sed meliore via dextros tua vota marito 
promeruere deos, dum nocte dieque fatigas 
numina, dum cunctis supplex advolveris aris 
et mitem genium domini praesentis adoras. 
audita es, venitque gradu Fortuna benigno. 75 

vidit quippe pii iuvenis navamque quietem 
intactamque fidem succinctaque pectora curis 
et vigiles sensus et digna evolvere tantas 

^ proavis seu 5": prnavi seu M {Tmlmf keeps this and 
reads munera) : proavis aut Heinsms. 
^ falsoque M : falsaeque Heinslus. 

" " potentes," occasionally used in Statius= " great," " im- 
portant," rf. i. f)l, "divitias p."="lordlv wealth," and 
V. 2. 29. 

SILVAE, V. I. 51-78 

graces of tlie soul are praised for ancestry or gift of 
loveliness ; and falsely great they lack a true 
renown;" but though a brilliant lineage was thine, 
and the blessing of a beauty that husbands would 
prize, yet thy own boast is prouder, that thou knewest 
but one bed, didst feed but one passion in thy secret 
heart. That love no Phrygian ravisher would have 
outraged, no Dulichian suitors, nor that adulterer 
who polluted his brother's innocent spouse with 
Mycenaean gold.^ Ay, did you offer the riches of 
Babylon or weight of Lydian treasure or the lordly 
wealth of Ind or Araby or China, she had preferred 
to die poor in untainted chastity, and given her life 
to save her honour. Yet was there no forbidding 
sternness in her look, nor o'ermuch austerity in her 
ways, but a gay and simple loyalty, and modesty 
blent with charm. Yet if some dread crisis had 
summoned her to harder tasks, gladly would she 
have borne on her lord's behalf the assault of armed 
bands or the lightning's stroke or the perils of mid- 
ocean. Happier was thy fate, that adversity ne'er 
proved how true thy devotion, how great thy anxiety 
for thy spouse. Ay, happier was thy path, and thy 
prayers merited heaven's favour for thy husband, 
while day and night thou didst weary the gods, and 
lie prostrate at every altar and adore the present 
godhead of our gentle lord. Thy prayers were heard, 
and Fortune came with favoui'ing step. For he 
beheld the quiet industry, the unsullied devotion of a 
loyal youth, whose mind was busy with schemes, 
whose alert intelligence and sober judgement were 

** Paris, the wooers of Penelope, Thyestes who seduced 
Aerope the wife of Atreus. 

VOL. I T 273 


sobria corda vices, vidit, qui cuncta suorum 
novit et inspectis ambit latus omne ministris. 80 

nee mirum : videt ille ortus obitusque, quid auster,^ 
quid boreas hibernus agat, ferrique togaeque^ 
consilia atque ipsam mentem probat. ille subactis^ 
niolem immensam umeris et vlx tractabile pondus* 
imposuit — nee enim numei'osior altera sacra 85 

cura domo — , magnum late dimittere in orbem 
Romulei niandata ducis viresque modosque 
imperii tractare manu ; quae laurus ab arcto, 
quid vagus Euphrates, quid ripa binominis Histri, 
quid Rheni vexilla ferant, quantum ultimus orbis 90 
cesserit et refugo cireumsona gurgite Thyle — 
omnia nam laetas pila attollentia frondes, 
nuUaque famosa signatur lancea penna — 
praeterea, fidos dominus si dividat enses, 
pandere quis centum valeat frenare, maniplos 95 

inter missus eques,^ quis praecepisse cohorti, 
quern deceat clari praestantior ordo tribuni, 
quisnam frenigerae signum dare dignior alae ; 
niille etiam praenosse vices, an merserit agros 

^ auster 5" : arctos M. 

^ togaeque Uom. : rotagae M, 

^ subactis .limnfiiis : iubatis 3/: probatis R'rohn. 

* pondus A rant ins: tenipus M. PhiUhnore suspects 
damage to arrhetifpe at the ends of these four lines. 

* maniplos intermissus eques M : maniplis intermixtus 
equos Salmasius : maniplo intermissus eques Madvig. 

" " A laurel fastened to the dispatch was the sign of news 
of victory, but a feather — the sign of haste — marked the 
bearer of disastrous news. . . . The greatness and sureness 
of the Imperial organization is exemplified in the fact that 
the news of defeat or danger was urgent and hurried, while 
that of victory was not." A. M. Ramsay, Journal of Roman 
Studies, XV. Pt. 1, p. 66. He also quotes Juv. iv. 147-9, 
where the point is the same. 


SILVAE, V. I. 79-99 

fitted to unravel tlie skein of circumstance — he saw, 
who knows the hearts of all his subjects, and with 
well-tried servants guards safely every quarter. Nor 
is that wonderful : he scans the East and the West, 
he knows wliat the South and what the wintry North 
is doing, and puts sword and gown to the proof, ay, 
the very heart itself. He placed upon those bowed 
shoulders a mighty burden, a weight scarce tolerable 
— no duties more manifold does the Sacred Palace 
know — to send far and wide into the great world the 
commands of the Roman Prince, to handle all the 
powers and modes of empire ; to learn what laurelled 
message comes from the North, what news from 
wandering Euphrates or from tlie bank of twy-named 
Ister or from the standards of the Rhine, how much 
we have won of the world's end or of Thule round 
Avhich the tidal waters roar — for every spear raises 
joyous leaves on high," and no lance is marked with 
the feather of ill -report ; moreover, should the 
Master distribute loyal swords,** to make known who 
suffices to control a century, a knight .sent among the 
companies of foot, who to command a cohort, whom 
the more excellent rank of illustrious tribune befits, 
who is suited rather to give orders to a cavalry troop ; 
again, to anticipate a thousand chances, whether Nile 
has drenched his fields, whether Libya has been 

'' These, according to Madvig, Opusc. i. 39, are the four 
military appointments open to knights in ascending order : 
i. Primipilus, or Senior Centurion (" maniplos inter missus 
eques," shows that something more than the ordinary 
centurionship is intended) ; ii. Praefectus cohortis ; iii. 
Tribunus legionis ; iv. Praefectus equitum. The higher 
appointments were made " per epistolam sacram Inipera- 
toris," see Veget. ii. 7. Cf, v. 12. 65 n. 


ST ATI us 

Nilus, an inibrifero Libye sudaverit austro ; 100 

cunctaque si numerem, non plura interprete virga 
nuntiat ex celsis ales Tegeaticus astris 
quaeque cadit liquidas lunonia virgo per auras 
et picturato pluvium ligat aera gyro 
quaeque tuas laurus volucri, Germanice, cursu 105 
Fama vehit praegressa diem tardumque sub astris 
Arcada et in medio linquit Thaumantida caelo. 

Qualem te superi, Priscilla, hominesque benigno 
aspexere die, cum primum ingentibus actis 
admotus coniunx ! vicisti gaudia paene^ HO 

ipsius, efFuso dum pectore prona sacratos 
ante pedes avide domini tam magna merentis 
volveris. Aonio non sic in vertice gaudet. 
quam pater arcani praefecit hiatibus antri 
Delius, aut primi cui ius venerabile thyrsi 115 

Bacchus et attonitae tribuit vexilla catervae. 
nee tamen hinc mutata quies probitasve secundis 
intumuit : tenor idem animo moresque modesti 
fortuna crescente manent. fovet anxia curas 
coniugis hortaturque simul flectitque labores. 120 

ipsa dapes modicas et sobria pocula tradit, 
exemplumque ad erile monet ; vehit Apula coniunx 
agricolae parci vel sole infecta Sabina, 
quae videt emeriti iam prospectantibus asti'is 
tempus adesse viri, propere mensasque torosque 125 
instruit exspectatque sonum redeuntis aratri. 
parva loquor. tecum gelidas comes ilia per arctos 
Sarmaticasque hiemes Histrumque et pallida Rheni 

^ paene Burmann : cene 31, certe Markland. 

" Mercury and Iris, as in 11. 102-3. 
'' The Pj'thian priestess and the leader of a Bacchic revel. 


SIIA^AE, V. I. 100-128 

moistened by Southern rains ; were I to count all 
his labours, no more numerous are the messages that 
the winged Tegean with revealing wand bears from 
the stars on liigh, or Juno's maid, who glides down 
through the liquid air and binds her pictured arc 
about the rainy sky, or Fame, who brings thy laurels, 
O Germanicus, in her swift flight outstripping the 
day, and leaves the slow Arcadian beneath the stars 
and Thaumantia in mid-heaven." 

How joyful, Priscilla, wert thou seen of gods and 
men on that auspicious day when first thy spouse 
Avas promoted to his great career ! Almost did thy 
happiness surpass his own, while thou didst eagerly 
fling thyself prostrate before the sacred feet of thy 
lord for his great favour, and pour out all thy heart. 
Not such joy doth she know upon the Aonian mount 
whom the Delian sire hath put in charge of the 
openings of the mystic cave, or she to whom Bacchus 
hath awarded the dread privilege of the foremost 
wand, and to bear the banner of the frenzied rout.* 
Yet was her tranquillity not changed, nor her good- 
ness puffed up by prosperity ; her mind keeps the 
same course, and her modesty abides, though her 
fortunes rise. Anxiously she tends her husband's 
cares, and cheers and alleviates his toils. Herself 
she serves his modest board and sober cups, and 
admonishes him by the example of his chief; just as 
the Apulian wife of some thrifty husbandman, or 
sun-burnt Sabine dame, who sees by the peeping 
stars that her lord will soon be come, his labours o'er, 
briskly sets the tables and the couches, and listens 
for the returning plough. I speak of trivial things : 
nay, at thy side she had willingly braved the gelid 
North and Sarmatian snows and Ister and the pale 



frigora, tecum omnes aninio durata per aestus 
et, si castra darent, vellet gestare pharetras, 130 

vellet Amazonia latus intercludere pelta ; 
dum te pulverea bellorum nube^ videret 
Caesarei prope fulmen equi divinaque tela 
vibrantem et magnae sparsum sudoribus hastae. 
Hactenus alma chelys. tempus nunc ponere 
frondes, 135 

Phoebe, tuas maestaque comam damnare cupresso. 
quisnam impacata consanguinitate ligavit 
Fortunam Invidiamque deus ? quis iussit iniquas 
aeternum bellare deas ? nullamne notabit 
ilia domum, torvo quam non haec lumine figat 140 
protinus et saeva proturbet gaudia dextra ? 
florebant hilaves inconcussique penates : 
nil maestum. quid enim, quamvis infida levisque, 
Caesare tarn dextro posset Fortuna timeri ? 
invenere viam liventia Fata, piumque 145 

intravat vis saeva larem. sic plena maligno 
adflantur vineta noto, sic alta senescit 
imbre seges nimio, rapidae sic obvia puppi 
invidet et velis adnubilat aura secundis. 
carpitur eximium Fato Priscilla decorem ; 150 

qualiter alta comam silvarum gloria pinus 
seu lovis igne malo seu iam radice soluta 
deficit et nulli spoliata remurmurat aurae. 
quid probitas aut casta fides, quid numina prosunt 
culta deum ? furvae miseram circurn undique leti 
vallavere plagae, tenduntur dura sororum 156 

licia et exacti superest pars ultima fili. 

^ pulverea b. nube 3/ : pulvereum Baehrens : in nube edd. 

SILVAE, V. I. 129-157 

frosts of Rhine, at thy side steeled her courage 
throughout summer heats and gladly borne the 
quiver, did the camp permit, and gladly shielded her 
body with an Amazonian targe — so but she might see 
thee in the dust-clouds of battle hard by the Em- 
peror's thundering steed, brandishing godlike shafts 
and bedewed with the sweat of his great spear. 

So far my lyre has been propitious ; but now it is 
time to doif thy bays, O Phoebus, and doom my 
tresses to sad cypress-leaves. What god joined 
Fortune and Envy in truceless kinship ? who bade 
the cruel goddesses engage in unending war ? Will 
the one set her mark upon no house, but the other 
must straightway fix it with her grim glance, and 
with savage hand make havoc of its gladness ? 
Happy and prosperous was this abode, no shock 
assailed it, no thought of sorrow ; wiiat cause was 
there to have fear of Fortune, treacherous and 
fickle thougli slie be, while Caesar was favourable ? 
yet the jealous Fates found a way, and barbarous 
violence entered that blameless home. So do the 
laden vineyards feel the deadly sirocco's blast, so 
rots the high corn with too much rain, so does the air 
envy the rapid craft it meets, and gathers storm- 
clouds about its prosperous sails. Fate plucks away 
the peerless beauty of Priscilla : just as the lofty 
pine, the glory of the woodland, is wasted of its 
foliage, be it by fell fire of Jove or that its roots are 
loosened, and so despoiled answers no more the 
whispering breeze. What avails goodness, or chaste 
loyalty, or worship paid to heaven ? The dark 
snares of death encompassed around the wretched 
woman, the Sisters' ruthless threads are tightened, 
and there abides but the last portion of the exhausted 



nil famuli coetus, nil ars operosa medentum 
auxiliata malis ; comites tamen undique ficto 
spem simulant vultu, flentem notat ilia maritum. 
ille modo infernae nequiquam flumina Lethes 161 
incorrupta rogat, nunc anxius omnibus aris 
inlacrimat signatque fores et pectore terget 
liraina ; nunc magni vocat exorabile numen 
Caesaris, heu durus fati tenor ! estne quod illi 165 
non liceat ? quantae poterant mortalibus annis 
accessisse morae, si tu, pater, omne teneres 
arbitrium ? caeco gemeret Mors clusa barathro 
longius et vacuae posuissent stamina Parcae. 

lamque cadunt vultus oculisque novissimus error 
obtunsaeque aurc;, nisi cum vox sola mariti 171 

noscitur ; ilium unum media de morte reversa 
mens videt, ilium aegris circumdat fcrtiter ulnis 
immotas obversa genas, nee sole supremo 
lumina, sed dulci mavult satiare marito. 175 

turn sic unanimum moriens solatur amantem : 
"pars animae victura meae, cui linquere possim 
o utinam, quos dura mihi rapit Atropos, annos : 
parce, precor, lacrimis, saevo ne concute planctu 
pectora, nee crucia fugientem coniugis umbram. 180 
linquo equidem thalamos, salvo tamen ordine mortis,^ 
quod prior : exegi longa potiora senecta 
tempora ; vidi omni pridem te flore nitentem, 
vidi altae propius propiusque accedere dextrae. 
non in te fatis, non iam caelestibus ullis 185 

^ mortis S" : mostis M: mestos Pol. {marg. note in Ex, 
Cors.): noctis Ed. Prin.: maeatos Ph III imore. 

" i.e., of the Emperor. 

SIL\'AE, V. I. 158-185 

span. No succour could crowds of slaves bring her 
in her distress, nor the physicians' toilful art ; yet 
while friends on every side feign looks of hopefulness, 
she marks her husband weeping. He now implores 
in vain Lethe's inexorable stream, now sheds anxious 
tears at every shrine and leaves his imprint at the 
gates and flings himself down upon the tln-eshold, 
now calls upon Caesar's merciful deity. Alas ! the 
cruel course of P'ate ! is there then aught that 
Caesar may not do ? What tarrying could there 
have come to mortal lives, if thou, O Sire, hadst been 
all-powerful ! far away would Death be groaning, 
imprisoned in the unseeing pit, and the idle Fates 
would have laid their spinning down. 

And now her face falls, her eyes take their last 
wavering glances, and the hearing of the ears is 
dulled, save when only she recognizes her husband's 
voice ; him only does her mind returning from the 
midst of death perceive, him with faint amis does 
she bravely grasp, turning to him her stiffened 
cheeks, nor wishes to sate her eyes with the last 
glimpse of light, but only Avith her dear spouse. 
Then dying she thus consoles the loving heart that 
was one with hers : " O thou, my soul's still- 
surviving half, to Avhom I would fain leave the 
years that cruel Atx-opos takes from me, spare thy 
tears, I pray, beat not thy breast with savage lament, 
nor vex thy consort's fleeing spirit. I leave, 'tis true, 
a marriage-bower, yet in the due order of dying, 
because I die the first ; better the life I have lived 
than a long old age ; I have seen thee in the full 
splendour of thy fame, I have seen thee draw nearer 
and more near to the right hand on high." No fate, 
no god has power over thee now ; I take with me 


ST ATI us 

arbitrium : mecum ista fero. tu limite coepto 

tende libens sacrumque latus geniumqiie potentem 

inrequietus ama. nunc, quod cupis ipse iuberi, 

da Capitolinis aeternurn sedibus aurum, 

quo niteat sacri centeno pondere vultus 190 

Caesaris et propriae signet cultricis amorem 

sic ego nee Furias nee deteriora videbo 

Tartara et Elysias felix admittar in oras. ' 

haec dicit labens sociosque amplectitur artus 

haerentemque animam non tristis in ora mariti 195 

transtulit et cara pressit sua lumina dextra. 

At iuvenis magno flammatus pectora luctu 
nunc implet saevo viduos clamore penates, 
nunc ferrum laxare cupit, nunc ardua tendit 
in loca — vix retinent coniites — , nunc ore ligato 200 
incubat aniissae mersumque in corde dolorem 
saevus agit, qualis conspecta coniuge segnis^ 
Odrysius vates positis ad Strymona plectris 
obstupuit tristemque rogum sine carmine flevit. 
ille etiam erecte^ rupisset tempora vitae, 205 

ne tu Tartareum chaos incomitata subires, 
sed prohibet mens fida ducis mirandaque sacris 
imperiis et maior amor. 

Quis carmine digno 
exsequias et dona malae feralia pompae 
perlegat ? omne illic stipatum examine longo 210 
ver Arabum Cilicumque fluit floresque Sabaei 
Indorumque arsura seges praereptaque templis 

^ conspecta coniuge segnis M : conspecto coniugis igni 

* erecte M : certe 5" : fractae Imhof. 

" Orpheus. 
'' i.e., of the Emperor himself. 


SILVAE, V. I. 186-212 

their power to harm. Do thou go gladly on in the 
path thou hast entered, and love unfailingly the 
saci-ed presence, the spirit of our Prince. Now — a 
behest after thine own heart — give to the temple on 
the Capitol gold that endures for ever, that the 
countenance of sacred Caesar may gleam in a statue 
that weighs a hundred pounds, and prove his constant 
votary's love. So shall I behold neither Furies nor 
dire Tartarus, but be admitted, a blessed soul, to 
Elysian regions." Thus with failing strength she 
speaks, and clings to her consort's arms, and un- 
repining breathed out her lingering soul into her 
husband's lips, and closed her eyes with the hand 
she loved. 

But the heart of her spouse was ablaze with 
passionate grief ; now he fills the bereaved home 
with frenzied crying, now would fain set free the 
steel, now climbs to lofty heights — scarce can his 
friends restrain him — now broods o'er his lost one 
with mouth joined fast to mouth, and savagely 
excites the grief that is hidden in his heart : even 
as the Odrysian bard * seeing his wife's corpse fell 
dazed and horror-struck, and flinging down his quill 
on Strymon's bank in songless sorrow mourned the 
pyre. He too had courageously cut short the term 
of life, that thou shouldst not go uncompanioned to 
Tartarean gloom, but loyalty to his Prince forbids, 
loyalty that roused the wonder of the Sacred 
Monarch, and a yet greater love.** 

Who could recount in worthy song the obsequies 
and funeral gifts of that unhappy train ? There 
heaped together in long array is all tlie liquid wealth 
of Arabian and Cilician springs, Sabaean blooms and 
Indian produce destined for the flames, and incense, 



tura Palaestinis, simul Hebraeique liquoves 
Coryciaeque comae Cinyreaque germina ; et altis 
ipsa toris Serum Tyrioque umbrata recumbit 215 

tegmine. sed toto spectatur in agmine coniunx 
solus ; in hunc magnae flectuntur lumina Romae 
ceu iuvenes natos suprema ad busta ferentem : 
is dolor in vultu, tantum crinesque genaeque 
noctis habent. illam tranquillo fine solutam 220 

felicemque vocant, lacrimas fudere marito. 

Est locus, ante urben^ qua primum nascitur ingens 
Appia quaque Italo gemitus Almone Cybebe 
ponit et Idaeos iam non reminiscitur amnes. 
hie te Sidonio velatam molliter ostro 225 

eximius coniunx — nee enim fumantia busta 
clamoremque rogi potuit perferre — beato 
composuit, Priscilla, toro. nil longior aetas 
carpere, nil ae^i poterunt vitiare labores 
siccatam^ membris : tantas venerabile marmor 230 
spirat opes, mox in varias mutata novavis 
effigies : hoc aere Ceres, hoc lucida Gnosis, 
illo Maia tholo,^ \enus hoc non improba saxo. 
accipiunt vultus haud indignata decoros 
numina : circumstant famuli consuetaque turba 235 
obsequiis, tunc rite tori mensaeque parantur 

^ siccatam S~ : sic catum M: sic cautum PhiUhnore. 
^ tholo M : polo, loco edd. : luto Baehrcns. 

" i.e., saffron (repeated from " ver Cilicum ") and m3Trh. 

* i.e., his hair is dark with the dust and ashes poured upon 
it, his ej-es with grief. 

* The reference is to the ceremonial washing of the image 
of Cybele, the Magna Mater, on March ;?7th in the river 
Almo, a small tributary of the Tiber. 

■^ See note on ii. 7. 121. Statues representing various 


SIL^'AF>, V. I. 213-236 

spoil of Palestinian shrines, Hebrew essences witlial 
and Corycian petals " and Cinyrean buds ; she herself 
reclines on a lofty couch of silk 'neath the shade of a 
Tyrian awning. But in all the concourse none looks 
but at the husband, on liim is bent the gaze of 
mighty Rome, as though he were bearing youtliful 
sons to burial : such grief in his looks, such darkness 
upon his hair * and eyes. Her call they happy in her 
quiet and peaceful end, 'tis for the husband their tears 
are shed. 

There is a spot before the city where the mighty 
Appian way has its first beginning, and Cybele lays 
aside her grief in Italian Almo," nor remembers 
the streams of Ida any more. Here thy peerless 
consort — for he could not bear the smoke of burning 
and the clamour of the pyre — laid thee, delicately 
arrayed in Sidonian purple, blissfully to rest. Length 
of years will have no power to harm thee, nor the 
labours of time to wither and mar thy limbs : such 
wealth of perfume does the venerable marble 
breathe. Soon art thou changed into manifold 
images "^ and born anew : here art thou Ceres in 
bronze, here the bright Cretan maid,*' Maia beneath 
that dome, an innocent Venus in this marble. The 
deities scorn not to accept thy lovely features : 
attendants stand about thee, a multitude wont to 
obe,y ; then couches and tables duly without ceasing.^ 

a-oddesses with Priscilla's features were placed round about 
the sarcophagus (" marmor ") containing her embalmed 

^ Dictynna, i.e. Diana {rf. Thcb. ix. 632) ; clearly not 

' Apparently to maintain the illusion of Priscilla being 
still alive, her embalmed body is surrounded by attendants, 
and couches and banquets are made ready for her. 



assiduae. donius ista, domus ! quis triste sepulcrum 
dixerit ? hac merito visa pietate mariti 
protinus exclames : "est hie, agnoseo, minister 
illius, aeternae modo qui sacraria genti 240 

condidit inque alio posiiit sua sidera caelo." 
sic, ubi magna novum Phario de litore puppis 
solvit iter iamque innumeros utrimque rudentes 
lataque veliferi porrexit brachia mali 
invasitque vias, it^ eodem angusta phaselos 245 

aequore et immensi partem sibi vindicat austri. 

Quid nunc immodicos, iuvenum lectissime, fletus 
corde foves longumque vetas exire dolorem ? 
nempe times, ne Cerbereos Priscilla tremescat 
latratus ? tacet ille piis ! ne tardior adsit 250 

navita proturbetque vadis ? vehit ille merentes 
protinus et manes placidus locat hospite cumba. 
praeterea, si quando pio laudata marito 
umbra venit, iubet ire faces Proserpina laetas 
egressasque sacris veteres heroidas antris 255 

lumine purpureo tristes laxare tenebras 
sertaque et Elysios animae praesternere flores. 
sic manes Priscilla subit ; ibi supplice dextra 
pro te Fata rogat, reges tibi tristis Averni 
placat, ut expletis humani finibus aevi 260 

pacantem terras dominum iuvenemque relinquas 
ipse senex ! certae iurant in vota sorores. 
1 it Gevart : in M. 
" See note on iv. 3. 19. *" Egyptian. 



SILVAE, y. I. 237-262 

A liouse liast thou there, a house ! Who would call 
it a gloomy sepulchre ? Justly would one exclaim, 
seeing the devotion of her spouse : " Truly is he the 
minister of him who lately for his everlasting race 
founded a sacred shrine," and set his kindred stars 
in another heaven." So when some great ship sets 
forth on a new voyage from the Pharian ^ strand, 
and already has stretched out on either side a 
thousand ropes and the broad arms of her sail- 
bearing mast, and started on her way, some tiny 
pinnace sails on the same sea, and claims her share 
of the limitless South wind. 

Why now, choicest of youths, dost thou cherish 
sorrow in thy heart beyond due measure, nor suffer 
thy long grief to have an end ? Fearest thou lest 
Priscilla tremble at Cerberus' howling ? he is silent 
for the blessed. Lest the sailor be slow to draw nigh 
her, or disturb her on the waters ? He conveys 
deserving souls forthwith, and quietly sets them in 
his welcoming craft. Moreover, whenever a shade 
approaches that has won the praise of a loving 
spouse, Proserpine bids summon joyful torches, and 
the heroines of old to come forth from hallowed 
bowers and scatter the shades of gloom in radiant 
light, and strew garlands and Elysian flowers before 
her. "Thus doth Priscilla enter the kingdom of the 
dead ; there with suppliant hand she prays the 
Fates for thee, and placates the lords of grim Avernus, 
that having fulfilled the term of human life thou in 
old age mayst leave thy prince still giving peace to 
the world and still young ! The unfailing Sisters 
take oath to grant her prayers. 




Rura nieus Tyrrhena petit saltusque Tagetis 
Crispinus ; nee longa mora est aut avia tellus, 
sed mea secreto velluntur pectora morsu, 
udaque turgentes impellunt lumina guttas, 
ceu super Aegaeas hiemes abeuntis amici 5 

vela sequar spectemque ratem iam fessus ab altis 
rupibus atque oculos longo querar aere vinci. 

Quid ? si militiae iam te, puer inclite, primae 
clara rudimenta et castrorum dulce vocaret 
auspicium, quanto manarent gaudia fletu 10 

quosve darem amplexus ! etiamne optanda pro- 

tristia ? et^ octonos bis iam tibi circuit orbes 
vita, sed angustis animus robustior annis, 
succumbitque oneri et mentem sua non capit aetas. 
nee mirum : non te series inhonora parentum 15 

obscurum proavis et priscae lucis egentem 
plebeia de stirpe tulit : non sanguine cretus 
turmali trabeaque recens^ et paupere clavo 

^ propinquis 5" : propinqui 3/: et iamne . . . propinquas 

- et s~ : lit M. 

^ trabeaque recens /iVo/oi : trabeque et reniis J/: trabeaque 
Remi nee Lipsius. 

" An Etruscan, the founder of the art of the " haruspices " 
(see Ovid, Met. xv. 553). 

*■ i.e., " must they be glad and proud at his going to war, 
while they grieve to lose him ? " 

•^ The "trabea " was a toga marked by purple horizontal 
stripes ; originally royal, it was worn by knights on certain 
occasions, and so became regarded as a knightly badge. 


SILVAE, V. II. 1-18 


A letter of congratulation and good wishes to Crispinus, 
a lad of sixteen, just appointed military tribune. The an- 
nouncement of this appointment is kept back till the end of 
the poem, the opening lines referring to a holiday taken by 
the boy shortly before that event, but is anticipated throughout. 
His fatJier was a celebrated officer named Bolanus, who had 
served with distinction in Asia Minor, Armenia, and Scot- 

My Crispinus is off to Etruscan fields and the 
glades of Tages ; "• not for long is his sojourning, nor 
distant the land, but my heart is torn with secret 
pangs, and my brimming eyes set the large tears 
rolling, as though I watched o'er the stormy Aegean 
the sails of a departing friend, and from a cliff gazed 
wearily yet after the vessel, and complained that my 
sight was baffled by the long reach of air. 

Ah ! if it were the brilliant opening of a soldier's 
career that called thee, noble youth, or the glad 
auspices of the camp, what joyful tears would flow, 
in what warm embraces would I clasp thee ! Must 
friends then even welcome sadness ? ^ And already 
thy life has accomplished twice eight courses, but 
tliy spirit is more robust than thy tender age, and 
thy years quail before their task, and thy will brooks 
not their control. Nor is that wonderful : thine 
was no unrenowned lineage, nor wast thou born of 
plebeian stock, obscure of family and devoid of 
ancestral fame ; no child of equestrian blood or but 
newly granted the robe of knighthood "^ and the 
humble stripe '^ didst thou as a newcomer knock at 

"* The angusticlave, for which see note on iii. 2. 124. 
VOL. I U 289 


augustam sedem et Latii penetrale senatus 
advena pulsasti, sed praecedente tuorum 20 

agmine. Romulei qualis per iugera circi, 
cum pulcher visu, titulis generosus avitis 
exspectatur equus, cuius de stemmate longo 
felix demeritos habet admissura parentes, 
ilium omnes acuunt plausus, ilium ipse volantem 25 
pulvis et incurvae gaudent agnoscere metae : 
sic te, clare puer, genitum sibi curia sensit, 
primaque patricia clausit vestigia luna. 
mox Tyrios ex more sinus tunicamque potentem 
agnovere umeri. sed enim tibi magna parabat 30 
ad titulos exempla pater, quippe ille iuventam 
protinus ingrediens pharetratum invasit Araxen 
belliger indocilemque fero servire Neroni 
Armeniam. rigidi summam Mavortis agebat 
Corbulo, sed comitem belli sociumque laborum 35 
ille quoque egregiis multum miratus in armis 
Bolanum ; atque illi curarum asperrima suetus 
credere partirique metus, quod tempus amicum 
fraudibus, exserto^ quaenam bona tempora bello, 
quae suspecta fides aut quae fuga vera ferocis 40 

Armenii. Bolanus iter praenosse timendum, 
Bolanus tutis iuga quaerere commoda castris, 
metiri^ Bolanus agros, aperire malignas 
torrentum nemorumque moras tantamque verendi 
mentem implere ducis iussisque ingentibus unus 45 

^ exserto Livineius : exorto M. 
^ metiri 3/: meiari Avantius. 

" The crescent-shaped buckle on the senatorial shoe. 

* The " toga praetexta " and the laticlave (tunic with one 
broad purple stripe down the middle). See note to v. 1. 52. 

'' For the campaigns of Corbulo see Tac. Ann. xv. 1. 

'' " metiri " is usually changed to " metari," as being more 

SILVAE, V. 11. 19-45 

tlie august abode and hallowed chamber of the 
Latian Senate, but preceded by a long array of thine 
own kinsmen. Just as when on the wide spaces of 
the Roman Circus a horse is awaited, comely to 
behold and generous with the blood of famous sires, 
in whose long pedigree a lucky mating has produced 
distinguished parentage ; the applause of all excites 
him, the very dust and the round turning-points 
welcome with joy his flying hooves : so did the 
Senate-house know thee, illustrious boy, as born for 
itself, and set the patrician crescent " on thy youthful 
feet. Soon did thy shoulders recognize as their own 
the wonted Tyrian fold% and the proud tunic.** And 
indeed thy sire was preparing for thee mighty 
patterns of thy fame to be. For on the threshold of 
manhood he straightway made warlike attack on 
quiver-bearing Araxes and Armenia that would not 
learn to serve fierce Nero. Corbulo " held command 
in the stern warfare, but even he admired Bolanus, 
his comrade in battle and partner of his toils, in many 
a glorious fight ; on him too was he wont to lay his 
keenest anxieties, and shared with him his fears, 
what occasion befriended ambush, what times were 
good for open fighting, when to suspect the word 
and when to trust the flight of proud Armenia. 
Bolanus it was who knew beforehand the perils of 
the route, Bolanus who sought the ridge that served 
the safety of the camp, Bolanus who measured '^ out 
the fields and cleared the dangerous hindrances of 
torrent or forest, who fulfilled the mighty purposes 
of that revered chieftain, and alone of all availed to 

appropriate to camps ; Statins, however, may not be think- 
ing of castrametation at all, or may prefer the less technical 



sufficere. ipsa virum norat iam barbara tellus, 
ille secundus apex bellorum et proxima cassis, 
sic Phryges attoniti, quamquam Nemeaea viderent 
arma Cleonaeusque acies impelleret arcus, 
pugnante Alcide tamen et Telamona timebant. 50 
disce, puer, — nee enim externo monitore petendus 
virtutis tibi pulcher amor : cognata ministret 
laus animos. aliis Decii reducesque Camilli 
monstrentur — tu disce patrem, quantusque ne- 

fluctibus occiduis fesso usque^ Hyperione Thylen 55 
intrarit mandata gerens quantusque potentis 
mille urbes Asiae sortito rexerit anno, 
imperium mulcente toga, bibe talia pronis 
auribus, haec certent tibi conciliare propinqui, 
haec iterent comites praecepta senesque paterni. 60 

lamque alio moliris iter nee deside passu 
ire paras ; nondum validae tibi signa iuventae 
inrepsere genis, et adhuc tenor integer aevi. 
nee genitor iuxta ; fatis namque haustus iniquis 
occidit et geminam prolem sine praeside linquens. 65 
nee saltern teneris ostrum puerile lacertis 
exuit albentique umeros induxit aniictu. 
quern non corrupit pubes effrena novaeque 

^ fesso usque Vollmer : fessusque M: fessoque Dotn.: 
fessoque Hyperioni Imhof. 

° The Trojans feared Telamon, father of Ajax, as well as 
Hercules (slayer of the Nemean lion near Cleonae). The 
reference is to the previous sack of Troy, in which Hercules 
took part. 

*" Decius devoted himself to death for Rome ; Camillus 
returned from exile to defeat the Gauls. 

"= He was legatus in Britain 70-71. 

''■ lit. "that says no to," "opposes," c/. iii. 1. 124 "saxa 

SILVAE, V. II. 46-68 

carry out his great commands. Already the bar- 
barian land itself knew the hero well ; his was the 
second crest in battle, his helm stood nearest to 
his chief's. So were the Phrygians dismayed,** and 
though it was the arms of Nemea they saw, and 
Cleonae's bow that drove their ranks in rout, ay, 
though Alcides fought, yet feared they Telamon also. 
Learn, boy — for no stranger needst thou seek to 
teach thee the fair love of valour ; let kindred renown 
inflame thee : others may seek a pattern in Decius 
or the returning of Camillus ** — learn thou the lesson 
of thy sire,*^ in what might he entered Thule that sets 
a barrier to western waves,*^ where Hyperion is ever 
weary, and bore the commands of Caesar, how 
powerfully he governed the thousand cities of lordly 
Asia in the allotted year, yet with justice tempering 
authority. Drink in with ready ear these stoi-ies, 
for these let thy kinsmen strive to win thy love, these 
precepts let thy comrades and thy father's friends 

And now thou art planning a journey to other 
lands, and art preparing to be gone with no sluggish 
stride ; not yet have the signs of vigorous manhood 
crept about thy cheeks, blameless still is the tenour 
of thy life. Nor is thy father with thee : a cruel fate 
has taken him, he is dead, leaving two children with- 
out a guardian. He did not even take off the purple 
of boyhood from thy youthful arins, or put the white 
raiment about thy shoulders.*' Whom hath not un- 
restrained youth corrupted, and the too hasty freedom 

nef!:antia ferro," also Theh. ii. 668. Thule was regarded 
rather as in the extreme W. than in the N. 

" The change from the pur])le-bordered toga of childhood 
to the white toga of manhood is referred to. 


ST ATI us 

libertas properata togae ! ceu nescia falcis 

silva comas tollit fructumque exspirat in umbras. 70 

at tibi Pieriae tenero sub pectore curae 

et pudor et docti legem sibi dicere mores ; 

tunc hilaris probitas et frons tranquilla nitorque 

luxuriae confine tenens pietasque per omnes 

dispensata modos ; aequaevo cedere fratri 75 

mirarique patrem miseraeque ignoscere matri, 

admonuit fortuna domus. tibine ilia nefanda 

pocula letalesque manu componere sucos 

evaluit, qui voce potes praevertere morsus 

serpentum atque omnes \Tiltu placare novercas ? 80 

infestare libet manes meritoque precatu 

pacem auferre rogis ; sed te, puer optime, cerno 

flectentem visus^ et talia dicta parantem : 

" parce, precor, cineri : fatum illud et ira nocentum 

Parcarum crimenque dei. mortalia quisquis 85 

pectora sero videt nee primo in limine sistit 

conatus scelerum atque animos infanda parantes. 

excidat ilia dies aevo nee postera credant 

saecula ! nos certe taceamus et obruta multa 

nocte tegi propriae patiamur crimina gentis. 90 

exegit poenas, hominum cui cura suorum, 

quo Pietas auctore redit terrasque revisit, 

quern timet omne nefas. satis haec lacrimandaque 

ultio. quin saevas utinam exorare liceret 
^ visus Postgate : iustis M. 

" Ace. to Lemaire, " admonuit " implies " you have 
learnt from the storj' of your house to," etc. 

" Crispinus is praised for his generosity towards his 
mother who tried to poison him perhaps out of favour 


SILVAE, V. II. 69-94 

of the gown ! even as a tree, when it knows not 
the knife, luxuriates in growth and wastes its fruit- 
fuhiess in leaf? But beneath thy youthful breast 
are modesty and study of the Muse and a nature 
self-controlled ; mirth too thou hast and honesty 
and a tranquil brow, and an elegance that stops short 
of luxury, and loyal devotion lavished on every side ; 
the fortune of thy house has taught '^ thee to give 
place to thy brother of equal age, to reverence thy 
sire and to forgive thy hapless mother,* Could she 
bring herself to mix for thee the accursed cup of 
deadly juices, Avho by thy voice canst avert the bite 
of serpents, and by thy look soften the heart of any 
stepmother ? Fain would I vex her shade, and by 
merited curses banish peace from her pyre : but thou, 
O best of youths, dost turn thy face," I see, and 
ponderest such words as these : " Spare the dust, I 
pray ; 'twas destiny and the wrath of guilty Fates ; 
that god was to blame, who looks too late into human 
hearts, nor checks upon the threshold the motions of 
evil and the unhalloMed plottings of the mind. May 
that day perish from Time's record, nor future 
generations beheve it ! Let us at least keep silence, 
and suffer the crimes of our own house to be buried 
deep in whelming darkness. He wreaked the penalty 
who hath care of those who are his, at whose word 
Loyalty hath returned and come on earth again, 
whom every sin doth fear.*^ Sufficient for us and 
deserving of our tears is his vengeance. Nay, could 
we but implore the fierce Avengers, and keep Cer- 

towards his brother. A friend, Optatus, is mentioned at 
the end of the poem. 

" i.p., "dost refuse to gratify my wish." 

'' I.e., the Emperor. 


ST ATI us 

Eumenidas timidaeque avertere Cerberon umbrae 95 
immemoremque tuis citius dare manibus amnem." 

Macte animo, iuvenis ! sed crescunt crimina matris. 
nee tantum pietas, sed protinus ardua \irtus 
aiFectata tibi. nuper cum forte sodalis 
immeritae falso palleret crimine famae 100 

erigeretque forum succinctaque iudice multo 
surgeret et castum vibraret lulia fulmen : 
tu, quamquam non ante forum legesque severas 
passus, sed tacita studiorum occultus in umbra, 
defensare metus adversaque tela subisti 105 

pellere, inermis adhue et tiro, parentis amici. 
baud umquam tales aspexit Romulus annos 
Dardaniusque senex medii bellare togata 
strage fori, stupuere patres temptamina tanta 
conatusque tuos, nee te reus ipse timebat.^ 110 

par vigor et membris, promptaeque ad fortia vires 
sufficiunt animo atque ingentia iussa sequuntur 
ipse ego te nuper Tiberino in litore \idi, 
qua Tyrrhena vadis Laurentibus aestuat unda, 
tendentem cursus vexantemque ilia nuda 115 

calce ferocis equi, vultu dextraque minaeem : 
— si qua fides dictis, stupui armatumque^ puta\i — : 
Gaetulo sic pulcher equo Troianaque quassans 
tela novercales ibat venator in agros 

^ nee te reus ipse timebat M : some edd. mark a lacuna 
after reus : de te, pro te edd., nee tunc Leo : se . . . tenebat 
conj. PJtilUmore. 

* armatumque M : Martemque Markland. 

" The charge was probably one of adultery, which would 
be dealt with under the Lex lulia de maritandis ordinibus. 

* Romulus and Aeneas, i.e. their statues in the Forum. 

•^ I adopt this interpretation with a good deal of hesita- 
tion (" nee reus ipse= et ipse is qui non erat reus "). I do not, 


SILVAE, V. 11. 95-119 

berus from tliat timid shade, ay, more swiftly grant 
thy ghost the waters of forgetfuhiess ! 

A blessing on thy heart, O youth ! yet the greater 
grows thy mother's crime. Not devotion only, but 
high courage also has been thy aim. Lately when 
thy friend grew pale at a false charge and unmerited 
ill-fame, and the Julian law awoke the Courts," and 
girt with her train of justices arose and shook her 
lightning-brand of chastity : thou, although without 
expei'ience of trials or stern laws, but ever hidden in 
the silence of thy studious shade, yet didst take upon 
thee to avert his fears, and, thyself an unarmed 
recruit, to repel the bolts that threatened thy terror- 
stricken friend. Never before did Romulus and our 
Dardanian ancestor ^ behold so young a combatant 
wage gowned warfare in mid-forum. The fathers 
were amazed at so brave a venture and at thy daring 
and even the innocent feared thee." In thy limbs 
too is the same vigour, and thy strength ever ready 
for valiant deeds is sufficient for thy courage and 
obedient to high behests. Myself I saw thee of late 
on Tiber's bank, where the Tyrrhenian M'ave foams 
against I-atian shallows, speeding on thy course, and 
with naked heel goading the flank of thy mettled 
steed, with threatening hand and visage : — as I 
speak ti'uth, I stood aghast, and thought thee armed 
for battle — ; so fair to see rode Ascanius on a 
Gaetulian horse a -hunting into his stepmother's 
fields, brandishing Trojan shafts, and made hapless 

however, think there is a lacuna here. Prof. Hardie adopts 
Prof. Slater's suggestion that nee te is a corruption of vecti, i.e. 
Crispinus hhuself, and reads after 109 — 

ipse etiam stupuit tanti modo criminis auctor 
conatusque tuos, Vecti, — reus ipse — tiniebat. 



Ascanius miseramque patri flagrabat Elissam ; 120 
Troilus haud aliter gyro le\iore niinantes 
eludebat equos aut quern de turribus altis 
Arcadas Ogygio versantem in pulvere metas 
spectabant Tyriae non torvo lumine matres. 

Ergo age iam^magno — ducis indulgentia pulsat 125 
certaque dat votis hilaris vestigia frater — 
surge aninio et fortes castrorum concipe curas. 
monstrabunt acies Mavors Aetaeaque virgo, 
flectere Castor equos, umeris quatere arnia Quirinus, 
qui tibi tam tenero pernn'sit plaudere collo 130 

nubigenas clipeos intactaque caedibus arma. 

Quasnam igitur terras, quern Caesaris ibis in orbem? 
Arctoosne amnes et Rheni fracta natabis 
flumina an aestiferis Libyae sudabis in arvis ? 
an iuga Pannoniae mutatoresque domorum 135 

Sauromatas quaties ? an te septenus habebit 
Hister et umbroso circumflua eoniuge Peuee ? 
an Solymum cinerem palmetaque capta subibis 
non sibi felices silvas ponentis Idymes ? 
quod si te magno tellus frenata parenti 140 

accipiat, quantum ferus exsultabit Araxes ! 
quanta Caledonios attollet gloria campos ! 
cum tibi longaevus referet trucis incola terrae : 
" hie suetus dare iura parens, hoc caespite turmas 

^ lam Phillimore : nam M ; punctuation Vollmer's. 

" i.e., wheeled as though he were racing in Arcadia. 
" versantem metas " is grammatically a sort of hypallage, for 
"versantem currum circa metas." Cf. Theb. ix. 683. 

* i.e., Parthenopaeus. 

" Pallas Athene. 

** He was one of the youthful Salii Quirinales, the priests 
of Mars, who carried the sacred shields (" ancilia "J in his 


SILVAE, V. II. 120-144 

Elissa burn with passion for his sire ; not otherwise 
did Troilus circhng more nimbly elude the menacing 
steeds, or he whom as he wheeled round the turning- 
posts of Arcady " in the dust of Thebes the Tyrian 
matrons beheld from their high towers mth no 
unkindly eyes.^ 

Come then — for thy Prince's favour urges thee on, 
and thy brother leaves sure footprints for thy vows, 
— arise with valiant heart, and bethink thee of the 
camp and its manly cares. Mars and the Attic maid*^ 
shall show thee the battle line. Castor shall teach 
thee to wheel thy horsemen, Quix'inus '^ to clash thy 
arms upon thy shoulders, Quirinus who suffered thee 
to make ring upon thy youthful neck the cloud-born 
shields and armour unstained with blood. 

To what lands then, to which of Caesar's worlds 
wilt thou go ? Wilt thou s\vim Northern rivers and 
the broken waters of Rhine, or sweat in the hot fields 
of Libya ? Wilt thou make Pannonian mountains 
tremble, and the Sauromatae that shift their dwell- 
ing ? Shall sevenfold Danube hold thee, and Peuce 
that lies amid her lover's shady streams ? ^ Or wilt 
thou tread the dust of Solyma,^ and the captive palm- 
groves of Idume, who not for herself did plant her 
fruitful orchards ? But if the land that thy mighty 
parent curbed receive thee, how will savage Araxes 
thrill with joy ! What glory will exalt the Caledonian 
plains ! when some aged dweller in that bloodthirsty 
land tells thee : s " Here was thy father wont to give 

* An island in the Danube, so called after the wife of the 
river-god, cf. Val. Fl. A7y. viii. 217. 

^ i.e., Jerusalem. 

" Vollmer quotes Tac. Agr. v. and the references to Vettius 
Bolanus in Agr. viii. 


adfari ; late^ speculas^ castellaque longe 145 

— aspicis ? — ille dedit cinxitque haec moenia fossa ; 

belligeris haec dona dels, haec tela dica\it 

— cernis adhuc titulos — ; hunc ipse vocantibus armis 

induit, hunc regi rapuit thoraca Britanno." 

qualiter in Teucros victricia bella paranti 150 

ignotuni Pyrrho Phoenix narrabat Achillem. 

Felix, qui viridi fidens, Optate, iuventa 
durabis quascumque vias vallumque subibis, 
forsan et ipse latus — sic numina principis adsint — 
cinctus et unaninii comes indefessus amici, 155 

quo Pylades ex more pius, quo Dardana gessit 
bella Menoetiades. quippe haec concordia vobis, 
hie amor est duretque precor ! nos fortior aetas 
lam fugit ; hinc votis animum precibusque iuvabo, 
et mihi ! sed questus solitos si forte ciebo 160 

et mea Romulei venient ad carmina patres, 
tu deeris, Crispine, mihi, cuneosque per omnes 
te meus absentem circumspectabit Achilles, 
sed venies melior — vatum non irrita currunt 
omina — , quique aquilas tibi nunc et castra recludit, 
idem omnes perferre gradus cingique^ superbis 166 
fascibus et patrias dabit insedisse curules. 

Sed quis ab excelsis Troianae colhbus Albae, 

^ late Waller : vitae M, vicis, vigiles, Vetti, viden has 
etc. edd. * speculas S" : specula M. 

* cingique Pol. : cingitque J/. 

" i.e., as I recite it (my Achilleid). 

* i.e., the rank of military tribune ; such tribunes were 
called " tribuni laticlavii," as compared with " tr. angusti- 
clavii," who were knights (Suet. OtJio, 10). This rank and 
that of " praefectus alae (equitum) " were often given 
to sons of senators (Suet. Oct. 38). Hence "clari" in 
V. 1. 97. This would be the first step (i. 173) in the senatorial 


SILVAE, V. II. 145-168 

justice, from this mound would he harangue his 
horsemen ; watch-towers and strongholds in wide 
circuit did he set — dost thou see ? — and drew a 
trench around these walls ; these gifts, these weapons 
did he dedicate to the god of war^thou seest still 
their titles ; this cuirass he himself put on at the 
battle's summons, this one did he take from off the 
British king." Such tales would Phoenix tell to 
Pyrrhus, as he planned victorious war against the 
Trojans, of Achilles whom he had never known. 

Happy thou, Optatus, who trusting in thy supple 
youth shalt endure whatever road or rampart thou 
shalt approach, girt thyself also with the sword, 
perchance — so be the godhead of the Prince pro- 
pitious — and the untiring comrade of thy bosom 
friend, even as was devoted Pylades, or Patroclus 
in the Dardan war. A union of hearts is yours ; 
true affection is this, and I pray that it abide. For 
me, the years of vigour speed fast away ; there- 
fore with vows and prayers will I cheer thy spirit, 
and mine as well ! But if I utter my wonted lament 
and the Roman fathers come to hear my song, I shall 
then feel thy loss, Crispinus, and my Achilles " will 
look on every bench for thee in vain. But thou shalt 
return yet more renoM^ned — not idly run the pro- 
phecies of the seers — and he who now admits thee 
to the eagles ^ and the camp shall grant thee to 
accomplish all the degrees of rank, and to be sur- 
rounded by the rods of power, and to take thy seat 
on thy father's curule chair. 

But who is this that from Trojan Alba's ^ lofty hills, 

"^ Alba, founded by Ascanius ; the Emperor had a resi- 
dence there. 



unde suae iuxta prospectat moenia Romae 
proximus ille deus, Fama velocior intrat 170 

nuntius atque tuos implet, Crispine, penates ? 
dicebam certe : vatum non irrita currunt 
auguria. en ! ingens reserat tibi limen honorum 
Caesar et Ausonii committit munia ferri. 
vade,^ puer, tantisque enixus suffice donis, 175 

felix, qui magno iam nunc sub praeside iuras 
cuique sacer primum tradit Germanicus ensem ! 
non minus hoc, fortis quam si tibi panderet ipse 
Bellipotens aquilas torvaque induceret ora 
casside. vade alacer maioraque disce mereri ! 180 


Ipse malas vires et lamentabile carmen 
Elysio de fonte niihi pulsumque sinistrae 
da, genitor praedocte, lyrae. neque enim antra 

Delia nee solitam fas est impellere Cirrham 
te sine. Corycia quicquid mode Phoebus in umbra, 
quicquid ab Ismariis monstrabat colhbus Euhan, 6 
dedidici. fugere meos Parnasia crines 
vellera, funestamque hederis inrepere taxum 

^ vade Pol. : unde M. 

« On Parnassus {cf. Theb. vii. 348). 
* In Thrace, with which Bacchus was connected in legend. 

SILVAE, V. II. 169— III. 8 

whence that present deity looks forth upon the walls 
of his own Rome hard by, enters outstripping Rumour, 
and with his news fills all thy house, Crispinus ? 
Surely was I saying : " Not idly run the prophecies 
of the seers." Lo ! Caesar unbars for thee the 
mighty threshold of renown, and entrusts the sword 
of Ausonia to thy keeping. Forward, lad ! having 
striven so far have strength for this great privilege, 
happy, who even now dost swear homage to thy 
mighty Cliief, and to whom divine Germanicus doth 
give thy first sword ! This is no lesser gift, than if 
the God of war himself bestowed on thee his strong 
eagles, and set his grim casque upon thy head. Go 
in good heart, and learn to merit yet higher honours ! 


TJie longest and most elaborate of the epicedia, and 
marked by much deeper and more genuine feeling than the 
others {except perhaps v. 5) / it is to be noticed that it only 
appears in the fifth book of the Silvae, though his father had 
died about fifteen years previously. Possibly the last book 
was posthumous ; it has no preface to it, as the others have, 
only a letter to Abascantus, and its last poem is an unfinished 

Do thou thyself, most learned sire, vouchsafe me 
from Elysian springs a bitter potency in the music of 
grief, and the touch of an ill-omened lyre. For 
without thee I may not move the Delian grottoes, or 
awake Cirrha to wonted strains. All that Phoebus 
of late revealed in his Corycian bower," and Euhan 
upon the hills of Ismara,** I have unlearnt. The 
fillets of Parnassus have dropped from my brow, and 
I have beheld in fear the deadly yew creep in among 

ST ATI us 

extimui trepidamque — nefas ! — arescere laurum. 
certe ego, magnanimum qui facta attollere regum 10 
ibam altum spirans Martemque aequare canendo. 
quis sterili mea corda situ, quis Apolline merso 
frigida damnatae praeduxit nubila menti ? 
stant circum attonitae vatem et nil dulce sonantes 
nee digitis nee voce deae. dux ipsa silenti 15 

fulta caput cithara, qualis post Orphea raptuni 
astitit, Hebre, tibi, cernens iam surda ferarum 
agmina et immotos sublato carmine lucos. 

At tu seu membris emissus in ardua tendens 
fulgentesque plagas rerumque elementa recenses, 20 
quis deus, unde ignes, quae ducat semita solem, 
quae minuat Phoeben quaeque integrare latentem 
causa queat, notique modos extendis Arati, 
seu tu Lethaei secreto in graniine campi 
concilia herouni iuxta manesque beatos, 25 

Maeoniuni Ascraeumque seneni, non segnior umbra 
accolis alternumque sonas et carmina misces : 
da vocem magno, pater, ingeniumque dolori. 
nam me ter relegens caelo^ terque ora retexens 
Luna videt residem nullaque Heliconide tristes 30 
solantem curas ; tuus ut mihi vultibus ignis 
inrubuit cineremque oculis umentibus hausi, 
vilis honos studiis. vix haec in munera solvo 
primum animum, tacitisque situm depellere curis^ 

^ caelo M : caelum Heinsius. 
^ tacitis . . . curis M : tactis . . . chordis Polster. 

" Author of an astronomical treatise called Phaenomena. 

* Homer and Hesiod. 

" This perhaps is not to be literally taken, i.e. that the 
poem was written three months after his father's death ; 
still in any case he must have kept it by him for a long 
while before publishing it — if indeed the publication was 
not posthumous. 

SILVAE, V. in. 9-34 

the ivy-leaves, and the trembling bay — ah ! lioiTor ! 
— ^\ither and die. Yet surely I am he who, loftily 
inspired, essayed to extol tlie deeds of great-hearted 
kings, and to raise my song to the height of Mars 
himself. Who has doomed my spirit to decay ? 
Who has drawn a cold shroud of mist about my 
blighted heart, and drowned my inspiration } The 
goddesses stand dismayed around the bard, and with 
neither voice nor finger make sweet melody. Their 
queen herself sinks her head upon her silent lyre, as 
when after Orpheus' loss she halted by thy stream, 
O Hebrus, and gazed at the troops of beasts that 
listened no more, and the woods that moved not 
since the strains were gone. 

But thou, whether freed from the body thou 
soarest to the heights and reviewest the glittering 
realms and the elements of things, learning what is 
God, whence cometh fire, what orbit guides the sun, 
what cause makes Phoebe wane and has power to 
restore her hidden light, and dost continue the music 
of renowned Aratus " ; or whether in the secluded 
grassy meads of Lethe, among gatherings of heroes 
and spirits of the blest, thou dost attend the Maeonian 
and Ascraean sages, ^ thyself no feebler shade, and 
makest music in thy turn and minglest thy song ^\ith 
theirs : O grant a voice and inspiration, father, to 
my great grief. For thrice ^ has the moon journeyed 
o'er the heaven, and thrice displayed her counten- 
ance, and still beholds me sluggish, and my sadness 
unconsoled by any draught of Helicon ; ever since 
thy pyre shed its red light upon my face, and with 
streaming eyes I gazed upon thy ashes, I have held 
cheap my poet's art. Scarce do I for the first time 
free my mind for tasks like this, and (e'en now 

VOL. 1 X 805 

ST ATI us 

nunc etiam labente manu nee lumine sieco 35 

ordior adelinis tuniulo, quo niolle quieseis 

iugera nostra tenens, ubi post Aeneia fata 

stellatus Latiis ingessit montibus Albam 

Ascanius, Phrygio dum pingues sanguine campos 

odit et infaustae regnum dot ale novercae. 40 

hie ego te — nam Sicanii non mitius halat 

aura croci, dites nee si tibi rara Sabaei 

cinnama, odoratas nee Arabs decerpsit aristas — 

inferiis cumulande sacris, te^ carmine plango 

Pierio ; sume o gemitus et vulnera nati 45 

et lacrimas, rari quas umquam habuere parentes. 

atque utinam foi'tuna milii, dare manibus aras, 

par templis opus, aeriamque educere molem, 

Cyclopum scopulos ultra atque audacia saxa 

Pyramidum, et magno tumulum praetexere luco ! 50 

illic et Siculi superassem dona sepulcri 

et Nemees lucum et Pelopis solemnia trunci. 

illic Oebalio non finderet aera disco 

Graiorum vis nuda^ virum, non arva rigaret 

sudor equum aut putri sonitum daret ungula fossa ; 

sed Phoebi simplex chorus, et frondentia vatum 56 

praemia laudato, genitor, tibi rite ligarem.^ 

ipse madens oculis, umbrarum animaeque sacerdos, 

^ inferiis cumulande sacris te PhiUimore : inferni cum 
laudae laci M : inferiis cum laude datis et Krohn : inserui cum 
laude loci Dom., te conj. Markland. 

^ nuda 5" : unda M: uncta Polster. 

^ ligarem M : dicarem S", litarent Ellis. 

" Probably refers to the incident related Aen. ii. 682 : 

ecce levis summo de vertice visus luli 
fundere lumen apex, etc. 

'' Lavinia. 


SILVAE, V. III. 35-58 

with failing hand and no tearless eye) essay to 
shake my silent sorrow from its torpor, leaning 
against the tomb in which thou dost rest at peace 
in our own fields, — those fields where after Aeneas' 
death star-bright Ascanius set Alba upon Latian 
hills,'' in hatred of the plains that Phrygian blood 
had drenched, the royal dower of his ill-omened 
stepdame.^ Here in thy honour — nor softer is the 
fragrant breath of Sicanian crocus, nor the rare 
cinnamon that rich Sabaeans pluck thee, nor per- 
fumed blossoms of Arabia — O thou who deservest 
full meed of holy offerings, do I make musical lament ; 
ah ! receive the groans and the anguish of thy son, 
and tears such as have been shed for but few fathers. 
Would it were my fortune, to build an altar to thy 
shade, a work that would match temples, to raise 
high the soaring fabric, higher than Cyclopean rock 
or the Pyramids' bold masonry, and plant a mighty 
grove about thy tomb. There had I surpassed the 
tribute of the Sicilian sepulchre, and Nemea's pre- 
cinct and the rites of maimed Pelops.'' There no 
naked band of Grecian athletes would cleave the air 
with the Oebahan disk,*^ no sweat of steeds would 
water the ground or hoof-beat ring upon the 
crumbling track ; there would be but the choir of 
Phoebus, and I would duly sing thy praise, O father, 
and bind on thee the minstrel's prize of leaves. I 
myself, as priest of the dead and of thy soul, would 
with moist eyes lead a mournful dirge, from which 

" The references are to the tomb raised by Aeneas for 
Anchises, that of Opheltes (see Tlieh. vi. 242), and the 
Olympian games founded in honour of Pelops. 

■* It was with the quoit that Apollo slew Narcissus, son 
of Oebalus, king of Sparta. 


ST ATI us 

praecinerem gemitum, cui te nee Cerberus omni 
ore nee Orpheae quirent avertere leges. 60 

atque ibi me^ moresque tuos et facta canentem 
fors et magniloquo non posthabuisset Homero, 
tenderet et torvo pietas aequare Maroni. 

Cur magis incessat superos et aena sororum 
stamina, quae tepido genetrix super aggere nati 65 
orba sedet vel quae primaevi eoniugis ignem 
aspicit obstantesque manus turbamque tenentem 
vincit in ardentem, liceat, moritura^ maritum ? 
maior et his forsan superos et Tartara pulsem^ 
invidia : externis etiam miserabile visu 70 

funus eat.^ sed nee modo se Natura dolenti 
nec^ Pietas in iusta® dedit ; mihi limine primo 
fatorum et viridi, genitor, ceu raptus ab aevo 
Tartara dura subis. nee enim Marathonia virgo 
parcius exstinctum saevorum crimine agrestum 75 
fleverit Icarium, Phrygia quam turre cadentem 
Astyanacta parens, laqueo quin ilia supremo 

^ ibi me Heinslus : tibi M. 

^ moritura M : modo itura Schrader, ruitura Heinshis. 
^ maior et his . . . pulsem /tro/o^: aliis 3/: at his ^af/?re«s: 
ais Vollmer : ab his Pliilhmore, who reads pulset. 

* invidia: . . eat. edd.: invidia? . . . eat? PlriUimore. 

* nee Mi sed Phillimore, bracketing nee modo to dedit. 

* in iusta Boxhorn : iniusta edd. 

" The idea running through this passage is that to him 
his father is as one untimely dead, and that therefore this 
bitterness is added to the grief felt bj' natural affection ; 
Erigone is an example of the same thing. She bewailed her 


SILVAE, V. III. 59-77 

neither Cerberus with all his mouths nor Orpheus' 
cruel bond could keep thee. There as I sang of thy 
goodness and thy deeds perchance thy love had 
deemed me not second to Homer's mighty utterance, 
ay, would even fain hold me equal to Maro's solemn 

« Why does the mother who sits bereaved by her 
son's still-glowing pile assail the gods and the Sisters' 
brazen threads more bitterly than I ? Why she who 
looks upon the flames that consume her youthful 
spouse, and breaks through the hands that stay her 
and the resisting crowd, to die, do they but suffer 
her, upon her husband's blazing corpse ? More 
fiercely even than theirs, perchance, does my I'eproach 
strike Tartarus and the gods ; ^ perchance even alien 
eyes find sorrow in the funeral train. Ay, not 
Nature only nor Affection have lent themselves to 
my grief for tliese sad rites : for to me, O father, 
thou wei't cut off on manhood's earliest thi-eshold, 
and in the prime of hfe didst enter cruel Tartarus. 
For neither did the Marathonian maid lament 
Icarius' death, that savage countrymen wrought, 
more sparingly than his mother mourned Astyanax 
hurled down from the Phrygian tower. Nay, Erigone 
stifled her sobs in the noose that took her life ; but 

father Icarius no less bitterly than Andromache mourned 
Astyanax her son ; Erigone slew herself, while Andromache 
became the slave of Pyrrhus. 

" The construction seems to be " perhaps fiercer than 
these in my reproach I strike," etc. ; " invidia " is strictly 
the feeling of bitterness against a person, often of the 
bereaved towards the gods, c/. Tliph. ix. 723 ; Silv. v. 5. 78. 
The sympathy of onlookers is often referred to as being 
aroused especially by cases of untimely death, cf. ii. 1. 175, 
V. 1. 217. 



inclusit gemitus : at te post funera magni 
Hectoris Haemonio pudor est servisse marito. 

Non ego, quas fati certus sibi morte canora 80 

inferias praemittit olor nee rupe quod atra 
Tyrrhenae volueres nautis praedulce minantur, 
in patrios adhibebo rogos : non murmure truneo 
quod gemit et durae queritur Philomela sorori : 
nota nimis vati. quis non in funere cunctos 85 

Heliadum ranios lacrimosaque gerniina dixit 
et Phrygiuni silicem atque ausum contraria Phoebo 
carmina nee fida^ gavisam Pallada buxo ? 
te Pietas oblita virum revoeataque caelo 
lustitia et gemina plangat Faeundia lingua 90 

et Pallas doctique cohors Heliconia Phoebi, 
quis labor Aonios seno pede ducere cantus^ 
et quibus Arcadia carmen testudine mensis 
cura lyrae^ nomenque fuit quosque orbe sub omni 
ardua septena numerat Sapientia fania, 95 

qui furias regumque domos aversaque caelo 
sidera terrifico super intonuere cothurno, 
et quis lasciva vires tenuare Thalia 

^ fida M: foeda Heinsius: bifida PliiUimore. 

" cantus Barth : campos M : currere campos Heinsius. 

* cura lyrae Gronovius : cydalibem M. 

" i.e., Andromache, mother of Astyanax: she became the 
slave of Neoptolemus, son of Achilles after the death of her 
husband. Hector. * See on ii. 2. 1. 

' Pallas had her own reasons for disliking the flute, and 
was therefore glad when it betrayed Marsyas. The other 


SILVAE, V. III. 78-98 

thou,'' when mighty Hector was dead, didst stoop to 
serve a Haemoman lord. 

I shall not bring to my father's pyre that tribute of 
death-music which the swan when he knows his doom 
sends to the world beneath, nor the warning strains 
surpassing sweet that the Tyrrhenian ^ winged maids 
chant to mariners from the fatal cliff : no sorrowful 
tongueless plaint of Philomela to her cruel sister : 
the minstrel knows them all too well. Who by the 
grave's side has not recounted all the branches and 
all the amber tears of the Sun's daughters, and 
Phrygia's flinty rock, and him who dared make music 
against Phoebus, while Pallas rejoiced that the 
boxwood-pipe deceived him ? '^ Nay, let Pity that 
has forgotten men,*^ and Justice recalled to heaven, 
and Eloquence in either tongue bewail thee, and 
Pallas and the Heliconian train of minstrel Phoebus ; 
those also whose toil it is to guide Aonian song in 
six-foot measures,*^ and they who fit their strains to 
the Arcadian tortoise-shell,-'' and find in the lyre their 
labour and renown, those whom 'neath every sky 
sublimest Wisdom counts in the sevenfold roll of 
Fame » ; they who in the dread buskin have thun- 
dered out the fury and the wickedness of kings, and 
told of the sun's light hidden from the earth, and 
they whose joy it is to relax their powers in Thalia's 

references are to the daughter of the Sun who wept for 
Phaethon, and to Niobe (from Mt. Sipylus in Phrygia, where 
the tigure of Niobe was, according to legend). 

^ See ill. 3. 1 n. 

^ i.e., the epic hexameter. Aonian=of the Muses, lit. = 

^ i.e., lyric, suggested by "carmen" and "mensis." 

^ The Seven Wise Men ; probably prose composition 



dulce vel heroos gressu truncare tenores.^ 

omnia namque animo complexus et omnibus auctor ^ 

qua fandi vis lata patet, sive orsa libebat 101 

Aoniis \incire modis seu voce soluta 

spargere et effreno nimbos aequare profatu. 

Exsere semirutos subito de pulvere vultus, 
Parthenope, crinemque adflato monte sepultum 105 
pone super tumulos et magni funus alumni, 
quo non Munichiae^ quicquam pi-aestantius arces 
doctaque Cyrene Sparteve animosa creavit. 
si tu stirpe vacans famaeque^ obscura iaceres 
nil gentile tenens, illo te cive probabas 110 

Graiam atque Euboico maiorum sanguine duci. 
ille^ tuis totiens praestabat® tempora sertis, 
cum stata laudato caneret quinquennia versu 
ora supergressus Pylii senis^ oi-aque regis 
Dulichii specieque comam subnexus utraque.^ 115 
non tibi deformes obscuri sanguinis ortus 
nee sine luce genus (quamquam fortuna parentum 
artior expensis^) ; etenim te divite ritu 

^ tenores Dom. : leones J/, Vollmer: labores, lepores, etc. 

^ auctor Dom. : utor M. 

^ Munichiae Pol.: moniciae M : Monichiae He'msivs'. 
Monychiae Postgate. 

* vacans famaeque Baehrens : vetas famaeque M : nefas 
famaque PhiUimore: vetus Dom, 

^ ille M : ilia Postgate. 

* praestabat Elter : prestat sed M : praestant se Vollmer. 

' senis 5" : gregis M, Klotz, Vollmer : regis Pj^lii conj. 

^ specieque . . . utraqiie Z>o?n. : speciemque . . . utroque 
M, Vollmer, Klotz. 

® expensis Avantius: extensis M. 


SILVAE, V. in. 99-118 

wantoning, or to maim of one foot the heroic tenor 
of their lay." For all measm'es in the broad path of 
eloquence did thy mind embrace, in all wert thou a 
master, whether it pleased tliee to bind thy utterance 
in poesy, or to fling it wide in unfettered speech and 
rival the rainstorms by the unbridled torrent of thy 

Lift up, Parthenope, lift up thy head half-buried 
from tlie dust that suddenly whelmed thee, lay thy 
tresses merged beneath the mountain's exhalations 
upon the tomb of thy great departed son : than 
whom neither the Munychian towers ^ nor learned 
Cyrene nor Sparta's valiant spirit '^ gave birth to 
aught more excellent. Wert thou lacking in lineage, 
humble and unrenowned, with nought of thine own 
race to show, his citizenship would prove thee Grecian 
and sprung from Euboea by ancestral blood. He, 
whene'er he celebrated the solemn quinquennial 
feast '^ in famous verse, as often offered his temples 
to receive thy laurel-prize, surpassing the utterance 
of Pylian sage and Dulichian prince alike,'' and 
binding the likeness of either on his brow. No mean 
birth of blood obscure was thine, nor was thy family 
without distinction (though expenses straitened thy 
parents' means) ; for it was in rich pomp that Infancy 

" On the MS. reading Volhner remarks : " kiihn nennt 
der Dichter die \erse, welche die wie Lowen kampfenden 
Helden darstellen, selbst ' leones.' " Traged}-, comedy, and 
elegy are denoted in 11. 96-99. 

* Athens. 

" Callimachus from Cyrene, Alcman from Sparta. 
^ The Augustalia at Naples. 

* Nestor and Ulysses are referred to, both of whom were 
eloquent speakers. 



ponere purpureos Infantia legit^ anxictus 

stirpis honore datos et nobile pectoris aurum. 120 

protinus exorto dextrum risere sorores 

Aonides, puerique chelyn summisit et ora 

imbuit amne sacro iam turn milii blandus Apollo. 

nee simplex patriae decus, et natalis origo 

pendet ab^ ambiguo geminae certamine terrae. 125 

te de gente suum Latiis ascita colonis 

Graia refert Hyele,^ gravidas* qua puppe magister 

exeidit et mediis miser evigilavit in undis ; 

maior at inde suum longo probat ordine vitae 

Parthenope ^ 

Maeoniden aliaeque aliis natalibus urbes 130 

diripiunt cunctaeque probant ; non omnibus ille 

verus, alit victos immanis gloria falsi. 

atque ibi dum prefers annos vitamque salutas, 

protinus ad patrii raperis certamina lustri 

vix implenda viris, laudum festinus et audax^ 135 

ingenii. stupuit primaeva ad earmina plebes 

Euboea et natis te monstravere parentes. 

inde frequens pugnae nulloque ingloria sacro 

vox tua : non totiens victorem Castora gyro 

nee fratrem caestu virides plausere' Therapnae. 140 

' legit M : adegit Dom. ^ ab Barth : et M. 

^ Hyele Heinsius : sele M : Velie ff" . 

* gravidus Ellis : gravis M : Graius S". 

* Lacuna recognized iiere by Markland, as there is no 
mention of Parthenope ; no lacuna in Mss. 

^ festinus et audax Lipsius : festina sed ut dux M. 
' plausere Dom. : clausero M. 

" There is no justification for changing " ponere " to 
" sumere " ; the ceremony clearly is the lading aside of the 
" toga praetexta " and the golden " bulla," emblems of 
childhood ; the fact that this ceremony was performed with 
great pomp is given as a proof of the statement " non tibi 

SILVAE, V. HI. 119-140 

chose thee to lay by the purple garb '^ given in 
honour of thy birth and the proud gold from off thy 
breast. Straightway at thy appearing the Aonian 
sisters favourably smiled, and Apollo even then my 
friend dipped thy boyish lyre and steeped thy lips 
in the sacred stream. Nor is thy country's glory 
single, and the undecided contest of two lands leaves 
the place of thy origin in doubt. Grecian Hyele,'' 
where the drowsy steersman fell from the poop and 
passed a distressful vigil in the waves, — Hyele, made 
their own by Latian settlers, claims thee on the score 
of bii-th ; but then mightier <Parthenope> proves 
thee hers by thy life's long course — even so different 
cities with as many birth-places divide Maeonides '^ 
among themselves, and prove their case every one ; 
yet is he not the true scion of all, but the vast pride 
of a false claim puffs up the vanquished. There, 
while thou didst begin thy lays and offer thy greeting 
to life, straightway wert thou hurried into the con- 
tests of thy native festival that men can scarce sus- 
tain, so eager wert thou for praise and bold of wit. 
The Euboean folk stood amazed at thy youthful verse, 
and parents showed thee to their sons. Thereafter 
was thy voice frequent in combat, and at no solemn 
feast inglorious : not so often did green Therapnae 
applaud Castor's victory upon the round course, or 
Pollux triumphant in the boxing-match. But if to 

deformes," etc. Possibly "ex tantis" (out of so many, 
" tanti " often=" tot," iv. 1. 33, iv. 8. 14) should be read 
for " expensis." " stirpis honore datos " does not refer to the 
grant of the laticlave, for this took place only with the 
assumption of the " toga virilis," but simply to the fact that 
he was a freeborn citizen. 

" Velia, on the Lucanian coast ; tlie reference is to 
Palinurus (Virg. Aen. vi. 366). " Homer. 



sin^ pronuni \icisse donii : quid Achaea mereri 
praemia nunc ramis Phoebi nunc gramine Lernae 
nunc Athamantea protectum tempora pinu, 
cum totiens lassata tamen nusquam a\ia frondes 
abstulit aut alium tetigit Victoria crinem ? 145 

Hinc tibi vota patrum credi generosaque pubes 
te nionitore regi, mores et facta priorum 
discere, quis casus Troiae, quam tardus Ulixes, 
quantus equos pugnasque \'irum decurrere versu 
Maeonides quantumque pios ditarit agrestes 150 

Ascraeus Siculusque senex, qua lege recurrat 
Pindaricae vox flexa lyrae volucrumque precator 
Ibycus^ et tetricis Alcman cantatus Amyclis 
Stesichorusque ferox saltusque ingressa \'iriles 
non forraidata temeraria Leucade^ Sappho, 155 

quosque alios dignata chelys. tu pandere doctus 
carmina Battiadae latebrasque Lycophronis arti* 
Sophronaque implicitum tenuisque arcana Corinnae. 
sed quid parva loquor ? tu par adsuetus Homero 
ferre iugum senosque pedes aequare solutis 160 

versibus et numquam passu breviore relinqui. 
quid mirum, patria si te petiere relicta, 
quos Lucanus ager, rigidi quos iugera Dauni, 
quos Veneri plorata domus neglectaque tellus 

1 sin M : sit Dom. ^ Ibycus Pol. : Obsicus 31. 

^ Leucade Pol. (from some commentator itnknown) : 
calchide M. * arti Baehrens : ari M : atri S". 

" The laurel of Apollo in the Pj'thian games, the wild 
parsley at Nemea, the pine-branch at Isthmus (Athamas 
was the father of Palaemon, who with his mother Ino was 
worshipped there ; Lerna is in the neighbourhood of Nemea). 

^ Hesiod and Epicharmus {cf. Columella, i. 1. 8). 

<^ Ibycus called on a flock of cranes to avenge him on 
some robbers who had ill-treated him. 

■* The only support for the ws. Calchide is a statement 


SILVAE, V. in. 141-164 

win at home was easy, what a feat to gain Achaean 
prizes, shading thy temples now with the spray of 
Phoebus, now with Lerna's grasses, now with the 
Athamantian pine,** when Victory so often quailed 
for weariness, yet never missed thee or robbed thee 
of thy leaves, or touched another's hair ! 

Hence came it that thou wert trusted with the fond 
hopes of parents, and under thy guidance noble 
youths were ruled, and learnt tlie ways and the 
prowess of men of old — the fate of Troy, Ulysses' 
tardy return, what power has Maeonides to describe 
in song the battles and steeds of heroes, how the 
bards of Ascra and of Sicily ** enriched the faithful 
husbandmen, the law that sways the recurrent, wind- 
ing rhythms of Pindar's lyre, Ibycus who besought 
the birds,'^ Alcman whose strains warlike Amyclae 
sang, proud Stesichorus, and bold Sappho '^ who 
feared not Leucas, but took the heroic leap, and all 
others whom the harp has deemed worthy. Skilled 
wert thou to expound the songs of Battus' son,*' and 
the dark ways and straitened speech of Lycophron, 
and Sophron's tangled mazes and the hidden thought 
of subtle Corinna. But why speak I of lesser names ? 
Thou wert wont to bear an equal yoke with Homer,^ 
and match his hexameters in prose, nor ever be out- 
distanced and fail to keep his pace. What wonder 
if they left their own land and sought thee, all whom 
Lucania sent and the acres of stern Daunus,^ and the 
home that Venus bewailed and the land that Alcides 

of Stephanus of Byzantium that there was a Chalcis on or 
near the island of Lesbos. 

' Callimachus (Battus, founder of Cyrene). 

f He had written a prose paraphrase of Homer. 

" i.e., Apulia; a legendary king, "stern": cf.Hor. C. 
i. 22. 14 " militaris Daunias." 


ST ATI us 

Alcidae vel quos e vertice Surrentino 165 

mittit Tyrrheni speculatrix \-irgo profundi, 
quos propiore sinu lituo remoque notatus 
collis et Ausonii pridem laris hospita Cyme 
quosque Dicarchei portus Baianacjue mittunt 
litora, qua mediis alte permixtus-'^ anhelat 170 

ignis aquis et operta domos incendia servant ? 
sic ad Avernales scopulos et opaca Sibyllae 
antra rogaturae veniebant undique gentes ; 
ilia minas divum Parearumque acta canebat 
quam\is decepto vates non irrita Phoebo. 175 

mox et Romuleam stirpem proceresque futuros 
instruis inque patrum vestigia ducere perstas. 
sub te Dardanius facis expl orator opertae, 
qui Diomedei celat penetralia furti, 
crevit et inde sacrum didicit puer ; arma probator^ 
monstrasti Saliis^ praesagumque aethera certi* 181 
auguribus ; cui Chalcidicum fas volvere carmen, 
cur Phrygii lateat coma flaminis, et tua multum 
verbera succincti formidavere Luperci. 

^ permixtus S" : permissus M. 

* probator Ellis: probatur J/: probatus Vollmer: pro- 
batis Baehrens. 

^ monstrasti Saliis Lipsius : monstrastis aliis 3f. 

* certi Vollmer : certis 3/. 

" Pompeii, of which Venus was patron goddess, Hercu- 
laneum, Surrentum with the promontory of Minerva, Cape 

* Of jNIisenus. 

" Slater : " that welcomed long ago the Ausonian Lar," 
i.e. Aeneas. 

■^ By refusing his love after he had granted whatever she 
chose to ask {i.e., as many years as there were grains in a 
handful of dust). 

* The reference is to the " pontifices," under whose super- 


SILVAE, V. III. 165-184 

slighted, and the maidoi who from Sorrento's height 
watches the Tyrrhenian deep, and the hill above the 
nearer bay * marked by the trumpet and the oar,^ 
those too whom Cyme sent, once a stranger to her 
Ausonian home," and the haven of Dicarchus and 
Baiae's shore, where pants the fire deep-mingled 
with the mjdmost waves and the smotliered con- 
flagrations keep their dwellings ? So from every 
side came the folk to Avernus' rocks and the dai-k 
grotto of the Sibyl, to ask their questions, while she 
sang of the wrath of heaven and the doings of the 
Fates, no vain prophet even though she foiled Apollo.** 
Soon dost thou educate the Roman youth and the 
chieftains that shall be, and firmly leadest them in 
the footsteps of their sires. Under thy care grew 
the Dardanian overseer of the hidden fire,^ who 
conceals the mysterious theft of Diomede, and from 
thee while a boy did he learn the rite : thou didst 
approve the Salii, and teach them their weapons' use 
and show to the augurs the sure foreknowledge of 
the air ; thou didst tell to whom belongs the privilege 
of unfolding the Chalcidic oracle, and why the hair 
of the Phrygian flamen is concealed ; and the girt-up 
Luperci sorely feared thy blows .^ 

vision was the sacred fire in the temple of Vesta, and the 
Palladium that Diomede stole from Troy. 

^ The " pontifices " had charge of the sacred fire in the 
temple of Vesta, and the Palladium taken from Troy by 
Diomede and Ulysses ; the Salii were priests of Mars, the 
augurs had supervision of the auspices, and the XVviri of 
the Sibylline books ; the priests of the Phrygian Cybele 
(like other flamens, who are therefore included) had to wear 
the " apex," a small sacrificial cap. The Luperci ran through 
the city half-naked, striking women with goatskin thongs to 
cause fertility ; here they are girt up to receive, not to inflict 
stripes ! 



Et nunc ex illo forsan grege gentibus alter 185 

iura dat Eois, alter compescit Hiberas, 
alter Achaemenium secludit Zeugmate Persen, 
hi dites Asiae populos, hi Pontica frenant, 
hi fora pacificis emendant fascibus, ilU 
castra pia statione tenant : tu laudis origo. 190 

non tibi certassent iuvenilia fingere corda 
Nestor et indomiti Phoenix moderator alumni 
quique tubas acres lituosque audire volentem 
Aeciden alio frangebat carmine Chiron. 

Talia dum celebras, subitam civihs Erinys 195 

Tarpeio de monte facem Phlegraeaque movit 
proelia. sacrilegis lucent Capitolia taedis,^ 
et Senonum furias Latiae sumpsere cohortes. 
vix requies flammae necdum rogus ille deorum 
siderat, excisis cum tu solacia templis 200 

impiger et multum facibus velocior ipsis 
concinis ore pio captivaque fulmina defies, 
mirantur Latii proceres ultorque deorum 
Caesar, et e medio divum pater annuit igni. 
iamque et flere pio \^esuvina incendia cantu 205 

mens erat et gemitum patriis impendere damnis, 
cum pater exemptum terris ad sidera montem 
sustulit et late miseras deiecit in urbes. 

Me quoque vocales lucos Boeotaque^ tempe 

^ taedis r : rhedis M. 

^ Boeotaque -Bae/jrens : biota- or hiotaque M : Inoaque 
etc. edd. 

" See note on iii. 2. 137. 

* Both Phoenix and Chiron acted as tutor to Achilles. 

' The fighting in Rome between the \'itelhan and Flavian 
troops, A.D. 69. 

■* Such as when the gods fought against the giants in the 
plains of Phlegra, cf. i. 1. 79 " bella lovis." The Senones were 
a Gallic tribe. 

SILVAE, V. III. 185-209 

And now of that company one perchance gives laws 
to Eastern races, another quells Iberian tribes, 
another at Zeugma "' sets bounds to the Achaemenian 
Persian ; these curb the rich peoples of Asia, those 
the lands of Pontus, these by peaceable authority 
declare pure justice in the courts, those hold loyal 
watch and ward in camps ; thou art the source of 
their renown. In moulding youthful minds neither 
Nestor nor Phoenix, guide of his untamed foster- 
child, had striven with thee, nor Chiron, who with 
ftir different strains subdued the heart of Aeacides, 
f;iin to hear the bugles and the blast of horns.'' 

Whilst thus thou wert busy, of a sudden civil 
Strife '^ raised her torch on the Tarpeian mount, and 
stirred Phlegraean combats .'* The Capitol glows 
ulth impious fire, and Latian cohorts showed the 
fui-y of the Gauls. Scarce had the flame abated, 
still burnt that funeral pyre of gods, when thou un- 
dismayed, eagerly forestalling the brands themselves, 
didst chant with pious voice a solace for the shrines 
destroyed and lament the captured thunderbolts. 
The Roman chieftains and Caesar, heaven's avenger, 
marvel, and from the midst of the blaze the Sire of 
the gods gives sign of favour. And already was it 
thy purpose to bewail in pious chant the conflagration 
of V^esuvius, and expend thy tears on the I'uin of thy 
native land, when the Father caught up the mountain 
from the earth and lifted it to the skies, then hurled 
it far and wide upon the hapless cities.^ 

I too, when I knocked at the groves of song and 

" Statius's father had written a poem on the fighting on the 
Capitol in 69, and was planning one on the eruption of 
Vesuvius in 79. 

VOL. I Y o2l 

ST ATI us 

pulsantem, cum stirpe tua descendere dixi, 210 

admisere deae ; nee enim mihi sidera tantum 

aequoraque et terras, quae mos debere parenti, 

sed decus hoc quodcumque lyrae primusque dedisti 

non vulgare loqui et famam sperare sepulcro. 

qualis eras, Latios quotiens ego carmine patres 215 

mulcerem felixque tui spectator adesses 

muneris ! heu quali confusus gaudia fletu 

vota piosque metus inter laetumque pudorem ! 

quam tuus ille dies, quam non mihi gloria maior ! 

tahs Olympiaca iuvenem cum spectat harena 220 

qui genuit, plus ipse ferit, plus corde sub alto 

caeditur ; attendunt cunei, spectatm- Achaeis^ 

ille magis, crebro dum lumina pulveris haustu 

obruit et prensa vovet exspirare corona. 

ei mihi quod tantum patrias ego vertice frondes 225 

solaque Chalcidicae Cerealia dona coronae 

te sub teste tuli ! qualem te Dardanus Albae 

vix cepisset ager, si per me serta tuhsses 

Caesarea donata manu ! quod subdere robur 

ilia dies, quantum potuit dempsisse senectae ! 230 

nam quod me mixta quercus non pressit oliva, 

et fugit speratus honos : quam^ dulce parentis 

invia^ Tarpei caperes ! te nostra magistro 

Thebais urgebat priscorima exordia vatum ; 

tu cantus stimulare meos, tu pandere facta 235 

^ Achaeis Imhof : achates M: Acestes Dom. 

^ quam Baehrens : qua M. 

' invia Ellis : invida M. 

« Cf. iii. 5. 38 n. 

* The wreath of ears of corn won at the Augustalia at 
Naples ; for "patrias " cf. note on iv. 8. 45. 

" The oak-wreath of the CapitoHne (Tarpeian) contest was 
not joined to the oUve-^vreath of the Alban contest, see note 

SILVAE, V. III. 210-235 

the glens of Boeotia, and claimed myself thy off- 
spring, was given entrance by the goddesses ; for it 
was not only sky and sea and land that thou didst 
give me, the due and v.onted gift of parents, but this 
glory of the lyi'e, such as it is, and thou first taughtest 
me no common utterance, and to hope for fame 
even in the tomb. What was thy pride, so oft as I 
charmed the Latian fathers vvith my song, while thou 
wert present, a happy Avitness of thy own bounty ! 
What confusion of delight and tears was thine, of 
hope and loving fear and modest joy ! That was 
indeed thy day, the glory as much thine as mine ! 
Such is the father that beholds his son upon Olympian 
sand, he strikes each blow himself more mightily, 
deeper in his heart's depth does he receive the 
stroke ; 'tis he whom the crowded tiers are watching, 
he on whom the Achaeans gaze, while his eyes grow 
dim with the whirling dust, and he prays to die so 
but the prize be grasped. Alas ! that in thy sight I 
bore only native chaplets on my brow," and only 
Ceres' gift of the Chalcidic wi-eath.^ How proud 
hadst thou been, scarce had thy Dardan estate of 
Alba held thee, if through me thou hadst won a 
garland given by Caesar's hand ! What sti'ength 
had that day ministered to thee, Avhat rehef to thy 
old age ! For in that the oak and ohve together did 
not press my brow, and the hoped-for prize eluded 
me — ah ! how gladly hadst thou received the Tar- 
peian Father's unattainable reward ! " Under thy 
guidance my Thehaid followed the footsteps of 
ancient bards ; thou didst teach me to give vigour 

on iii. 5. 28. If the reading of M "invida" be retained, the 
passage might be rendered " how gently did you receive the 
grudging decision," etc. 



heroum bellique modos positusque locorum 

monstrabas. labat incerto mihi limite cursus 

te sine et orbatae caligant vela carinae. 

nee solum larga memet pietate fovebas : 

talis et in thalamos. una tibi cognita taeda 240 

eonubia, unus amor, certe seiungere matrem 

iam gelidis nequeo bustis ; te sentit habetque, 

te xidet et tumulos ortuque obituque salutat, 

ut Pharios aliae ficta pietate dolores 

Mygdoniosque colunt et non sua funera plorant. 245 

Quid referam expositos servato pondere mores ? 
quae pietas, quam \-ile lucrum, quae cura pudoris, 
quantus amor recti ? rursusque, ubi dulce remitti, 
gratia quae dictis ? animo quam nulla senectus ? 
his tibi pro meritis famam laudesque benignas 250 
iudex^ cura deum nulloque e vulnere tristem 
concessit, raperis. genitor, non indigus ae\i, 
non nimius, trinisque decem quinquennia lustris 
iuncta ferens. sed me pietas numerare dolorque 
non sinit, o Pylias ae\i transcendere metas 255 

et Teucros aequare senes, o digne \'idere 
me similem ! sed nee leti tibi ianua tristis : 
quippe leves causae, nee segnis labe senili 
exitjis instanti praemisit membra sepulcro, 
sed te torpor iners et mors imitata quietem 260 

explicuit falsoque tulit sub Tartara somno. 
quos ego tunc gemitus, — comitum manus anxia vidit, 
vldit et exemplum genetrix ga\-isaque no\it — 
^ iudex M : vindex Aldine. 

" The reference is to the lamentation that formed part of 
the cults of Isis and Cybele, when Osiris and Attis were 
bewailed ; cf. " the women weeping- for Thammuz." I.e. 
Adonis. Pharian and M ygdonian= Egyptian and Phrygian. 

' i.e., of Nestor, who Uved through three generations. 


SILVAE, V. III. 236-263 

to my song, to describe heroic deeds and modes of 
war and the setting of the scene. Without thee my 
course wavers and runs uncertainly, and mist shrouds 
the sails of my lonely craft. Nor was it I alone thy 
bountiful love did cherish : such wert thou too 
toward thy spouse. Thou knewest the torches of 
but one wedlock : one passion alone inspired thee. 
Assuredly I cannot separate my mother from thy cold 
tomb : there doth she feel and know thy presence, 
she sees thee, and morn and eve salutes thy grave, 
as other women in feigned loyalty attend on Pharian 
or Mygdonian grief, and bewail an alien death.'' 

Why should I tell of thy frank, yet earnest nature ? 
thy loving heart, thy contempt of gain, thy care for 
honour, thy passion for the right ? and yet again, 
when it pleased thee to relax, of the charm of thy 
converse ? of thy mind that knew no age ? For these 
deserts of thine the ruling providence of the gods 
has granted thee renown and kindly fame, and saved 
thee from the sadness of any blow. Thou art taken, 
father, not lacking years, nor overburdened ; ten 
spaces of five years hast thou added to three lustres. 
But grief and affection suffer me not to count thy 
days, O thou who wert worthy to surpass the Pylian ** 
bounds of life and equal a Priam's age, worthy to see 
me too as old ! But the gate of death was not dark 
for thee : gentle was thy passing, nor did a tardy 
end fore-ordain thy frame in senile dissolution to the 
ever-threatening grave, but a tranquil unconscious- 
ness and death that counterfeited slumber set free 
thy soul, and bore thee to Tartarus under the false 
semblance of repose. Ah ! what groans I uttered 
then ! my friends saw me with anxiety, my mother 
saw me and rejoiced to recognize her son. What 


ST ATI us 

quae lamenta tuli ! veniam concedite, manes, 

fas dixisse, pater : non tu mihi plura dedisses. 265 

felix ille patrem vacuis circumdedit ulnis : 

vellet et Elysia quamvis in sede locatura 

abripere et Danaas iterum portare per umbras ; 

temptantem et vivos molitum in Tartara gressus 

detulit infernae vates longaeva Dianae ; 270 

sic ehelyn Odrysiam pigro transmisit Averno 

causa minor, sic Thessalicis Admetus in oris ; 

si lux^ una retro Phylaceida rettulit umbram, 

cur nihil exoret, genitor, chelys aut tua manes 

aut mea ? fas mihi sic patrios contingere vultus, 275 

fas iunxisse ntianus, et lex quaecumque sequatur. 

At vos, umbrarum reges Ennaeaque^ luno, 
si laudanda precor, taedas auferte comasque 
Eumenidum ; nullo sonet asper ianitor ore, 
Centauros Hydraeque greges Scyllaeaque monstra 
aversae celent valles, umbramque senilem 281 

invitet ripis, discussa plebe, supremus 
vector et in media componat molliter alga. 
ite, pii manes Graiumque examina vatum, 
inlustremque animam Lethaeis spargite sertis 285 
et monsti*ate nemus, quo nulla inrupit Erinys, 
in quo falsa dies caeloque simillimus aer. 
inde tamen venias, melior qua porta malignum 
cornea vincit ebur, somnique in imagine monstra, 

^ si lux Heinsius : silua M: sic lux Vollmer. Lacuna 
before this line ace. to Postgate. 

* Ennaeaque GroTCOwt'tts : aecneaque 3/: Aetnaeaque PoL 

" The allusion is to Aeneas, who carried his father through 
the darkness of the night when the Greeks took Troj- ; he 
embraced his phantom in the underworld. 

*■ Orpheus sought Eurydice, Hercules sought Alcestis. 

" See note on ii. 7. 122. 


SILVAE, V. HI. 264-289 

lamentation did I make ! Pardon me, O shades ; 
father, I may say it with truth : thou wouldst not 
have wept more for me ! Happy was he who grasped 
his sire "svith ineffectual arms ; ay, he would fain 
have snatched him away, though set in Elysium, and 
carried him once more through Danaan darkness : * 
and when he made essay and strove to walk with 
living steps to the underworld, the aged priestess of 
Diana, goddess of the dead, conducted him. Even 
so a lesser cause brought the Odrysian lyre to sluggish 
Avernus : so was it with Admetus in the land of 
Thessaly.'' If one day brought back the shade of 
Protesilaus,'' why should thy harp or mine, O father, 
vnn no request of the underworld ? Might I but 
touch the face of my sire, might I but grasp his hand 
with mine, let any law that will o'ertake me ! 

But do ye, O monarchs of the dead and thou, 
Ennean Juno,** if ye approve my prayer, send far 
away the Furies' brands and snaky locks ! Let 
the warder of the gate make no fierce barking, let 
distant vales conceal the Centaurs and Hydra's 
multitude and Scylla's monstrous horde, and, scatter- 
ing the throng, — let the ferryman of the dead invite 
to the bank the aged shade, and lay him gently to rest 
amid the grasses. Go, spirits of the blest and troops 
of Gi-ecian bards, shower Lethaean garlands on the 
illustrious soul, and point him to the grove where no 
Fury disturbs, where there is day like ours and air 
most like to the air of heaven. Thence mayst thou 
pass to where the better gate of horn o'ercomes the 
envious ivory,* and in the semblance of a dream teach 
me what thou wei*t ever wont to teach. Even so 

"^ Proserpine, carried off from the fields of Enna. 
^ See Virg. Aen. vi. 894.. 



quae solitus. sic sacra Nuniae ritusque colendos 290 
mitis Aricino dictabat nympha sub antro, 
Scipio sic plenos Latio love ducere somnos 
creditur Ausoniis, sic^ non sine Apolline Sylla 


Crimine quo nierui, iuvenis placidissime divum, 
quove errore miser, donis ut solus egerem, 
Somne, tuis ? tacet omne pecus volucresque feraeque 
et simulant fessos curvata cacwmina somnos, 
nee trucibus fluviis idem sonus ; occidit horror 5 

aequoris, et terris mai-ia adclinata quiescunt. 
septima iam i-ediens Phoebe mihi respicit aegras 
stare genas ; totidem Oetaeae Paphiaeque revisunt^ 
lampades et totiens nostros Tithonia questus 
praeterit et gelido spargit miserata flagello. 10 

unde ego sufficiam ? non si mihi lumina mille, 
quae sacer alterna tantum statione tenebat 
Argus et haud umquam vigilabat corpore toto. 
at nunc heu ! si aliquis longa sub nocte puellae 
brachia nexa tenens ultro te, Somne, repelht, 15 

inde veni nee te totas infundere pennas 
luminibus compello meis — hoc turba precetur 
laetior — : extremo me tange cacumine \irgae, 
sufficit, aut leviter suspense poplite transi. 

^ sic Sud/tans : nee M. 
^ re\dsunt Dom. : revisent M: renident Baehrens. 

" For Numa and Egeria see Livy, i. 19. 5. 

* Scipio was accustomed to visit the temple of Jupiter on 
the Capitol, where he was said to have communion with the 
god. Sulla always wore a small image of Apollo, under 
whose protection he held himself to be. 

•^ i.e., the evening and the morning stars, often spoken of 
by the ancients as shining on the same day. " Paphiae," 

SILVAE, V. III. 290— IV. 19 

the gentle Nymph ordained for Numa '^ in the Arician 
grot the sacred rites for his observing, so — as the 
Ausonians beheve — had Seipio nightly visions full of 
Latian Jove, so too was Sulla not without Apollo.'' 


O youthful Sleep, gentlest of the gods, by what 
crime or error of mine have I deserved that I alone 
should lack thy bounty ? Silent are all the cattle, 
and the wild beasts and the birds, and the curved 
mountain summits liave the semblance of weary 
slumber, nor do the raging torrents roar as they were 
v/ont ; the ruffled waves have sunk to rest, and the 
sea leans against earth's bosom and is still. Seven 
times now hath the returning moon beheld my fixed 
and ailing eyes ; so often have the lights of Oeta and 
Paphos '^ revisited me, so oft hath Tithonia passed by 
my groans, and pitying sprinkled me with her cool 
whip.*^ Ah ! how may I endure ? Not if I had the 
thousand eyes of sacred ^ Argus, which he kept but 
in alternate watchfulness, nor ever waked in all his 
frame at once. But now — ah, me ! — if some lover 
through the long hours of night is clasping a girl's 
entwining arms, and of his own will drives thee from 
him, come thence, O Sleep ! nor do I bid thee shower 
all the influence of thy wings upon my eyes — that 
be the prayer of happier folk ! — touch me but with 
thy Avand's extremest tip — 'tis enough — or pass over 
me with lightly hovering step. 

i.e. the planet of Paphian \'enus ; "Oetaeae," from Virg. 
Eel. viii. 30. 

"^ The whip is that with which she chases the stars, cf. 
Theb. viii. 274 ; from it fall drops of dew upon the wakeful 
poet. * "sacer," as being sent by Juno. 




Me miserum ! neque enim verbis solemnibus ulla 
incipiam nunc^ Castaliae vocalibus undis 
invisus Phoeboque gravis, quae vestra, sorores, 
orgia, Pieriae, quas incestavdmus aras ? 
dicite, post poenam liceat commissa fatei'i. 5 

numquid inaccesso posui vestigia luco ? 
num vetito de fonte bibi ? quae culpa, quis error 
quern luimus tantus^ ? morientibus ecee lacertis 
viscera nostra tenens animamque avellitur infans, 
non de stirpe quidem nee qui mea nomina ferret 10 
oraque ; non fueram genitor, sed cernite fletus 
liventesque genas et credite planctibus orbi : 
orbus ego. hue patres et aperto pectore matres 
conveniant ; cineremque oculis et crimina ferto, 
si qua sub uberibus plenis ad funera natos 15 

ipsa gradu labente tulit madidumque cecidit 
pectus et ardentes restinxit lacte fa villas.^ 
quisquis adhuc tenerae signatum flore iuventae 
immersit cineri iuvenem primaque iacentis 
serpere crudeles vidit lanugine flammas, 20 

adsit et alterno mecutD clamore fatiscat : 
vincetur lacrimis, et te, Natura, pudebit. 
tanta mihi feritas, tanta est insania luctus. 
hoc quoque cum nitor ter* dena luce peracta 
adclinis tumulo et planctus^ in carmina verto 25 

^ nunc Scriverhis : nee M. 

^ tantus Pol. : tanti.s JI. 

* favilJas Dom. : papillas 2f. 

* nitor ter Gronovius : ni . . . ter M. 

* tumulo et planctus Krohn : tumul . . . nctus M. 


SILVAE, V. V. 1-25 


Tiiat this epicedion would have rivalled in length ii. 1 and 
V. 3 may be gathered from the prelude, II. 1-65. The poet 
appears to have keenly felt the loss of his adopted son, if we 
may judge from the last lines of this fragment. 

Woe is me ! for with no hallowed words can I 
begin, hateful now as I am to Castalia's vocal streams 
and detested of Phoebus. What rites of yours, 
Pierian sisters, what altars have I violated ? Speak ; 
after the punishment let the crime be known. Have 
I set foot in some untrodden grove ? or drunk from 
a forbidden spring ? what fault, what error so great 
that I am atoning ? Lo ! as with dying arms he 
chngs to my heart, ay, to my very soul, my child is 
torn away : no child of my own blood, or bearing my 
name or features ; his sire I was not, but look upon 
my Avoe and my livid cheeks, and give credence, O 
ye bereaved, to my lament : for verily bereaved am 
I. Let fathers come hither, and mothers with open 
bosom ; and let her endure to behold these ashes 
and this crime, whoever with tottering step has borne 
her sons to the grave in her own arms beneath full 
breasts, and beaten a teeming bosom, and quenched 
with her milk the glowing embers ; whoever has 
plunged into the fire a lad still marked with the 
bloom of tender youth, and seen the cruel flames 
creep over the fresh down of the dead boy — let him 
come and grow Aveary with me in alternate wailing ; 
his tears will be outdone, and thou wilt feel shame, 
O Nature. So fierce am I, so senseless in my grief. 
And while I thus strive, now when thirty days are 
past, leaning against the tomb I turn my mourning 



discordesque modos et^ singultantia verba^ 

molior : orsa lyrae vis^ est atque ira tacendi 

impatiens. sed nee solitae mihi vertice laurus 

nee fronti vittatus honos. en taxea marcet 

silva comis, hilaresque hederas plorata cupressus 30 

excludit ramis ; nee eburno pollice chordas 

pulso, sed incertam digitis errantibus aniens 

scindo chelyn. iuvat heu, iuvat inlaudabile carmen 

fundere et incompte miserum nudare^ dolor em. 

sic merui ? sic me cantuque habituque nefastum 35 

aspiciant superi ? pudeat Thebasque novumque 

Aeaciden ? nil iam placidum manabit ab ore ? 

ille ego qui — quotiens ! — blande matrumque patrum- 

vulnera, qui viduos potui mulcere dolores, 
ille ego lugentum mitis solator, acerbis 40 

auditus tumulis et descendentibus umbris, 
deficio medicasque manus fomentaque quaero 
vulneribus, sed summa, meis. nunc tempus, amici, 
quorum ego manantes oculos et saucia tersi 
pectora : reddite opem, saevas exsolvite grates. 45 
nimirum cum vestra modis ego funera maestis^ 

increpitans : " qui damna doles aliena, repone 

infelix lacrimas et tristia carmina serva." 

verum erat : absumptae vires et copia fandi 

nulla mihi, dignumque nihil mens fulmine tanto 50 

repperit : inferior vox omnis et omnia sordent 

^ modos et 5' : m . . . M. 
^ verba M: acerba PhiUimore. 

' lyrae vis Krohn : ly . . J/: lyra vox Davies. Most 
edd. punctuate after molior : PhiUimore lyra : satis est. 
* nudare Markland : laudare M. 


SILVAE, V. V. 26-51 

into verse, and contrive discordant strains, and words 
that are but sobs ; the power of my lyre is awake, its 
spirit brooks not silence. But no wonted bays are 
on my head, no chaplet's glory on my brow. Behold, 
the yew-sprays Avither on my hair, and the lamentable 
cypress-leaves exclude the cheerful ivy, nor do I 
strike the chords with quill of ivory, but with errant 
fingers tear distractedly my uncertain harp. I 
delight, ay, alas ! delight to pour forth hateful 
strains, and to lay bare my wretched grief in random 
utterance. Is such my desert ? Must the gods 
behold me thus with the garb and music of woe ? 
Must Thebes and young Achilles " be put to shame ? 
Will calm utterance flow nevermore from my lips ? 
Yet I am he who was able — how many a time ! — to 
soothe by appeasing words the pain of mother and 
of sire, and the sorrow of bereavement ; I, the gentle 
consoler of the afflicted, whose voice was heard in the 
hour of untimely death by spirits departing, I now 
am at a loss, and seek healing hands and remedies, 
ay, the most powerful, for my wounds. Now is the 
time, my friends, whose streaming eyes and pierced 
breasts I stanched ; bring me succour, pay your debt 
of frenzied gratitude. Doubtless when I in sad 
strains <bewailed> your losses <one among you spake> 
rebuking : " Thou who dost grieve for others' loss, 
preserve thy ill-omened tears, and keep thy melan- 
choly song." 'Twas true : exhausted are my powers, 
I have no store of speech, my mind can find nought 
to match so great a blow ; too feeble is all my music, 
" His Thebaid and recently begun Achilleid. 

* vestra modis . . . maestis Klotz {hut in his edition 
he follows M) : vestra domus . . . maestus M. Baehrens 
recognized lacuna after 46, so all edd. 



verba, ignosce, puer : tu me caligine maesta 
obruis. a ! durus,^ viso si vulnere carae 
coniugis invenit caneret quod Thracius Orpheus 
dulce sibi, si busta Lini complexus Apollo 55 

non tacuit. nimius fortasse avidusque doloris 
dicor et in lacrimis iustum excessisse pudorem ? 
quisnam autemgemituslamentaque nostra reprendis^ ? 
o nimium felix, nimium crudelis et expers 
imperii, Fortuna, tui, qui dicere legem 60 

fletibus aut fines audet censere dolendi ! 
incitat heu ! planctus ; potius fugientia ripas 
flumina detineas rapidis aut ignibus obstes, 
quam miseros lugere vetes. tamen ille severus, 
quisquis is est, nostrae cognoscat vulnera causae. 65 

Non ego mercatus Pharia de puppe loquaces 
delicias^ doctumque sui eonvicia Nili 
infantem, lingua nimium* salibusque protervum, 
dilexi : meus ille, meus. tellure cadentem 
aspexi atque unctum genitali carmine fovi 70 

poscentemque novas tremulis ululatibus auras 
inserui vitae. quid plus tribuere parentes ? 
quin alios ortus libertatemque sub ipsis 
uberibus tibi, parve, dedi, cum^ munera nostra 
rideres ingratus adhuc. properaverit ille, 75 

sed merito properabat, amor, ne perderet uUum 
libertas tam parva diem, nonne horridus inde^ 
invidia superos iniustaque Tartara pulsem ? 

^ durus Pol. : duro M. 

^ reprendis Pol. : rependis M, Pol. {from P). 

* delicias Avantius : aedituas M. 

* nimium Markland : sumum M : eximium Waller. 

* cum Pol. : heu M. 

" ullum, inde Baehrens : om. M. 

" A favourite of Apollo who died young. 

*" Probably a reference to the solemn purification of the 


SILVAE, V. V. 52-78 

no word but is unwortliy. Forgive me, lad : 'tis 
thou dost cloud my mind with sorrow. Ah ! verily 
hard of heart was Thracian Orpheus, if he found a 
song that pleased him when he saw the wound of 
his dear spouse, and Apollo, if holding the corpse of 
Linus " in his arms he was not mute ! Too violent 
am I called perchance and greedy of woe, and 
extravagant beyond due measure in my weeping ? 
Who art thou that blamest my groans and tears ? 
Ah ! too happy he, and heartless, and ignorant. 
Fortune, of thy law, who dares to set conditions to 
lamentation, or adjudge the bounds of grief ! Alas ! 
mourning incites to mourn : sooner wilt tliou check 
the rivers that hurry past their banks or stay devour- 
ing fire than forbid the sorrowful to lament. Yet 
let him leai*n, that severe judge, whoe'er he be, my 
wound and my complaint. 

No chattering favourite was it, bought from a 
Pharian vessel, no infant skilled in the repartee of 
his native Nile, with over-ready tongue and impuc^nt 
wit, that won my heart ; mine was he, mine indeed. 
When he lay on the ground, a new-born babe, I saw 
him, and with a natal ode I welcomed his anointing, ** 
and as with tremulous wailing he claimed liis new 
heritage of air, I set him among living souls. What 
more did own parents give ? Nay, another birth 
I gave thee, little one, and thy liberty while yet at 
the breast, though yet thou didst laugh ungrateful 
at my gift. Hasty my love may have been, yet with 
good reason so, lest even a day be lost to so tiny a 
freedom. And shall I not then all unkempt hurl my 
reproaches at the gods and at unjust Tartarus ? Shall 

child on the nintli day after birth ; " inserui " perhaps of 
formal registration. 


ST ATI us 

nonne geniam te, care puer ? quo sospite natos 
non cupii, primo genitum quera protinus ortu 80 

implicui fixique^ mihi, cui verba sonosque 
monstravi questusque et vulnera caeca resolvi,^ 
reptantemque solo demissus ad oscula nostra 
erexi, blandoque sinu iam iamque cadentes^ 
exsopire* genas dulcesque accersere somnos. 85 

cui nomen vox prima meum ludusque tenello 
risus, et a nostro veniebant gaudia vultu. 


lumina : Nestorei niitis prudentia Crispi 
et Fabius Veiento — potentem signat utrumque 
purpura, ter memores implerunt nomine fastos — 
et prope Caesareae confinis Acilius aulae. 

^ quem . . . implicui fixique Pol. : qui . . . implicuit fixitque 

^resolvi S" : ne solvam M: resolvens Markland. 

' cadentes Baehrens : om. M: natantes S". 

* exsopire Vollmer : excepere M: exceptare, excipere 
ipse, etc. edd. 

" It is not clear what should be read for " excepere " ; 
for historic infinitives to avoid succession of past tenses cf. 
ii. 1. \2-2. 

'> These lines are quoted by Valla, commenting on 
Juvenal, Sat. iv. 94, and are the onlj' evidence we have for 
this work of Statins. 

" Crispus is probably Vibius Crispus, whom Quintilian 
mentions as "vir ingenii iucundi et elegantis " (v. 13. 48). 


SILVAE, V V. 79-87 

I not mourn for thee, dear lad ? Whilst thou didst live, 
I desired no sons, thou wert my first-born and from 
thy very birth I bound thee to myself and made thee 
truly mine ; I taught thee sounds and words, and 
soothed thy complainings and thy hidden hurts, and 
as thou didst crawl on the ground, I stooped and 
lifted thee to my kisses, and lovingly in my bosom 
lulled to sleep thy drooping eyes,"" and bade sweet 
slumber take thee. My name was thy first speech, 
my play thy infant happiness, and my countenance 
was the source of all thy joy. . . . 


. . . lights : the gentle wisdom of Nestor-like 
Crispus," and Fabius Veiento '^ — the purple marks 
each as eminent, thrice have they filled the recording 
annals Mith their names — and Acilius," near neigh- 
bour of Caesar's palace. 

Juvenal also describes him (iv. 81) " venit et Crispi iucunda 
senectus j cuius erant mores qualis facundia, mite \ ingenium "; 
cf. Tac. Hist. ii. 10. 

"^ If Fabius Veiento is the same as Fabricius Veiento, he 
was notorious as an informer under Domitian ; he too is 
mentioned by Juvenal (iv. ;113, iii. 185, vi. 113). 

" Acilius Glabrio and his father were present, with the two 
preceding, at the famous council of the Turbot (Juv. iv.); 
the former was a contemporary of Crispus, the latter (men- 
tioned here) was consul with Trajan in 91, and subsequently 
put to death by Domitian. 





Fraternas acies alternaque regna profanis 
decertata odiis sontesque evolvere Thebas, 
Pierius menti calor incidit. unde iubetis 
ire, deae ? gentisne canani primordia dirae, 
Sidonios raptus et inexorabile pactum 5 

legis Agenoreae scrutantemque aequora Cadmum ? 
longa retro series, trepidum si Martis operti 
agricolam infandis condentem proelia sulcis 
expediam penitusque sequar, quo carmine muris 
iusserit Amphion Tyrios accedere montes, 10 

unde graves irae cognata in moenia Baccho, 
quod saevae lunonis opus, cui sumpserit arcus 
infelix Athamas, cur non expaverit ingens 
Ionium socio casura Palaemone mater, 
atque adeo iam nunc gemitus et prospera Cadmi 15 
prae^eriisse sinam : limes mihi carminis esto 
Oedipodae confusa domus, quando Itala nondum 

" For the situation at the opening of the Epic and its 
plot see Introduction. 

'' Cadmus, son of Agenor, king of Phoenicia, was sent by 
his father in search of Europa when carried off by Zeus in 
the form of a bull ; he subsequently founded Thebes, and 
sowed the dragon's teeth there ; hence " anxious husband- 
man," etc. 

" Juno's jealousy caused the death of Semele, mother of 



My spirit is touched by Pierian fire to recount the 
strife of brethren, and the battle of the alternate 
reign fought out with impious hatred, and all the 
guilty tale of Thebes. Whence, O goddesses, do ye 
bid me begin ? — Shall I sing the origins of the 
dreadful race, the Sidonian rape and the inexorable 
terms of Agenor's law, and Cadmus searching o'er 
tlie main ? ** Far backward runs the story, should I 
tell of the anxious husbandman of hidden war, sowing 
battles in the unhallowed soil, and, searching to the 
uttermost, relate with what song Amphion bade the 
Tyrian mountains move to form a city's walls, whence 
came Bacchus' grievous wi'ath against his kindred 
towers; what deed fierce Juno wrought; against whom 
unhappy Athamas caught up his bow, and why with 
Palaemon in her arms his mother quailed not to leap 
into the vast Ionian sea.'^ Nay rather here and now I 
will suifer the sorrows and the joys of Cadmus to have 
gone by : let the troubled house of Oedipus set a 
limit to '^ my song, since not yet may I venture to 

Bacchus ; Athamas went mad and slew his son Learchus, 
Ino leapt with Palaemon into the sea. Ino and Semele were 
daughters of Cadmus. 
'^ Or, " be the track, the course of." 



signa nee Arctoos ausim spirare^ triumphos 

bisque iugo Rhenum, bis adactum legibus Histrum 

et coniurato deiectos vertice Dacos 20 

aut defensa prius vix pubescentibus annis 

bella lovis teque, o^ Latiae decus addite famae, 

quern nova mature^ subeuntem exorsa parentis 

aeternum sibi Roma cupit. licet artior omnis 

limes agat Stellas et te plaga lucida caeli, 25 

Pleiadum Boi'eaeque et hiulci fulminis expers, 

sollicitet, licet ignipedum frenator equorum 

ipse tuis alte radiantem crinibus arcum 

imprimat aut magni cedat tibi luppiter aequa 

parte poli, maneas hominum contentus habenis, 30 

undarum terraeque potens, et sidera dones. 

tempus erit, cum Pierio^ tua fortior oesti'o 

facta canam : nunc tendo chelyn satis arma refeiTC 

Aonia et geminis sceptrum exitiale tyrannis 

nee furiis post fata modum flammasque rebelles 35 

seditione rogi tumulisque carentia regum 

funera et egestas alternis mortibus urbes, 

caerula cum rubuit Lernaeo sanguine Diree 

et Thetis arentes adsuetum stringere ripas 

horruit ingenti venientem Ismenon acervo. 40 

quern prius heroum, Clio, dabis ? immodicum irae 

^ spirare, Pi, Heinsius, Bentley : sperare Proi. 
^ teque o P {vnth u written over the first e) : tuque o w, 
tuque ut Lachmann. 

* mature Lachmann : maturi Pw. 

* Pierio P (laurigero written over by a later hand) : 
laurigero w. 

" The reference is to Domitian's campaigns against Ger- 
mans and Dacians, and to the part he took in the fighting 
on the Capitol between Flavians and Vitellians in a.d. 69. 


THEBAID, I. 18-41 

utter the theme of tlie standards of Italy and the 
triumphs of the North, or Rhine twice brought 
beneath our yoke and Ister twice subject to our law 
and the Dacians hurled down from their conspiring 
mount, or how in those days of scarce-approaching 
manhood Jove was forfended from attack,** and of 
thee, O glory added to the Latian name, whom 
succeeding early to thy sire's latest exploits Rome 
longs to be her own for ever. Yea, though a closer 
bound confine the stars, and the shining quarter of 
tlie sky ** that knows nought of Pleiads or Boreas or 
rending thunderbolt tempt thee, though he who 
curbs the fiery-footed steeds set with his own hand 
upon thy locks the exalted radiance of his diadem, or 
Jupiter yield thee an equal portion of the great 
heaven, abide contented with the governance of men, 
thou lord of earth and sea, and give constellations 
to the sky.*^ A time will come when emboldened by 
Pierian frenzy I shall recount thy deeds : now do I 
pitch my harp but to the singing of Aonian ^ arms 
and the sceptre fatal to both tyrants ; of their mad- 
ness unchecked by death and the strife of flames in 
the dissension of the funeral pyre ; " of kings' bodies 
lacking burial and cities drained by mutual slaughter, 
when the dark-blue waters of Dirce blushed red with 
Lernaean gore, and Thetis stood aghast at Ismenos, 
once wont to graze arid banks, flowing down with 
mighty heaps of slain. Which hero first dost thou 
make my theme, O Clio ? Tydeus, uncontrolled in 

ft The south. 

' By deifying members of the Imperial house ; the idea 
of stars being divine spirits is an old one in mythology, 
e.g. Castor and Pollux ; it is also found in Plato and his 

^ Boeotian, i.e. Theban. ^ See xii. 429. 



Tydea ? laurigeri subitos an vatis hiatus ? 
urget et hostilem propellens caedibus amnem 
turbidus Hippomedon, plorandaque bella protervi 
Arcados atque alio Capaneus hoiTore canendus. 45 

Impia iam nierita scrutatus lumina dextra 
merserat aeterna damnatum nocte pudorem 
Oedipodes longaque animam sub morte^ tenebat. 
ilium indulgentem tenebris imaeque recessu 
sedis inaspectos caelo radiisque penates 50 

, servantem tamen adsiduis circumvolat alis 
saeva dies animi, scelerumque in pectore Dirae. 
tunc vacuos orbes, crudum ac miserabile vitae 
supplicium, ostentat caelo manibusque cruentis 
pulsat inane solum saevaque ita voce precatur : 55 
" di, sontes animas angustaque Tartara poenis 
qui regitis, tuque umbrifero Styx livida fundo, 
quam video, multumque mihi consueta vocari 
adnue. Tisiphone, perversaque vota secunda : 
si bene quid merui, si me de niatre cadentem 60 

fovisti gremio et traiectum vulnere plantas 
firmasti, si stagna peti Cirrhaea bicorni 
interfusa iugo, possem cum degere falso 
contentus Polybo, trifidaeque in Phocidos arto 
longaevum implicui regem secuique trementis 65 

^ morte P : nocte w. 

" Oedipus had torn out his own eyes when he realized 
that he was guilty of parricide and incest. Statins has in 
mind the Virgilian " nox atra caput circumvolat" Aen. 
vi. 866 (c/. also Hor. jS. ii. 1. 58), but here it is the "saeva 
dies " that hovers round. 

** Or, as some take it, " beats upon the empty sockets " ; 
but to beat on the earth was a recognized way of summoning 
infernal deities. 


THEBAID, I. 42-65 

wrath ? the sudden cliasm that gaped for the laurel- 
crowned prophet ? Distraught Hippomedon, too, 
repelling his river-foe with corpses demands my song, 
and I must lament the gallant Arcadian and his wars, 
and sing with a yet fiercer thrill the fate of Capaneus. 
Already had Oedipus with avenging liand probed 
deep his sinning eyes and sunk his guilty shame in 
eternal night, abiding in a long and living death. 
But while he liugs his darkness and the uttermost 
seclusion of his dwelling, and keeps his secret chamber 
which the sun's rays and heaven behold not, yet with 
unwearied wings the fierce daylight of the mind hovers 
around him," and the Avenging Furies of his crimes 
assail his heart. Then he displays to heaven those 
empty orbs, the cruel, pitiful punishment of his life, 
and with blood-stained hands beats upon the liollow 
earth,'' and in dire accents utters this prayer : " Gods 
who hold sway over guilty souls and over Tartarus 
crowded with the damned, and thou O Styx, whom I 
behold, ghastly in thy shadowy depths, and tliou 
Tisiphone, so oft the object of my prayer, be fjivour- 
able now, and further my unnatural wish : if in aught 
I have found favour ; if thou didst cherish me in thy 
bosom when I fell from my mother's womb, and didst 
heal the wounds of my pierced feet ; if I sought the 
lake of Cirrha where it winds between the two 
summits of the range," when I could have lived con- 
tented with the false Polybus, and in the Phocian 
strait where three ways meet grappled witli.the aged 
king and cleft the visage of the trembling dotard, 

" i.e., the Castalian spring at Delphi, beneath the two peaks 
of Parnassus, where he went to consult the oracle. He was 
brought up as the son of Polybus, king of Corinth (hence 
" false "). 


ST ATI us 

ora senis, dum quaero patrem, si Sphinges iniquae 
callidus ambages te praemonstrante i-esolvi, 
si dulces fui'ias et lamentabile matris 
conubium gavisus ini noctemque nefandam 
saepe tuli natosque tibi, scis ipsa, para\a, 70 

mox avidus poenae digitis caedentibus ultro 
incubui miseraque oculos in niatre reliqui : 
exaudi, si digna precor quaeque ipsa furenti 
subiceres. orbuni visu regnisque carentem^ 
non regere aut dictis maerentem flectere adorti, 75 
quos genui quocumque toro ; quin ecce superbi 
— pro dolor ! — et nostro iamdudum in funere reges 
insultant tenebris gemitusque odere paternos. 
hisne etiani funestus ego ? et videt ista deorum 
ignavus genitor ? tu saltern debita vindex 80 

hue ades et totos in poenam ordire nepotes.^ 
indue quod madidum tabo diadema cruentis 
unguibus abripui, votisque instincta paternis 
i media in fratres, generis consortia ferro 
dissiliant. da, Tartarei regina barathri, 85 

quod cupiam vidisse nefas, nee tarda sequetur 
mens iuvenum ; modo digna veni,^ mea pignora 
Taha dieenti crudehs diva severos 
advertit vultus. inamoenum forte sedebat 
Cocyton iuxta, resolutaque vertice crines 90 

lambere sulpureas permiserat anguibus undas. 
ilicet igne lovis lapsisque citatior astris 
tristibus exsiluit ripis ; discedit inane 

^ carentem PL : parenteni w. 

^ totos in poenam, nepotes Pw : poenam in totos BaeJi- 
rens, penates Ed. Parmensis. 

* modo digna veni Pcj : niodo dira Lachmann : modo 
diva Mueller : mens iuvenum, me digna : veni Garrod conj. 

THEBAID, I. 06-93 

searching for my true sire ; if by wit of tliy fore- 
showing I solved the riddles of the cruel Sphinx ; if I 
knew exulting the sweet ecstasy and fatal union of 
my mother's bed, and passed many an unhallowed 
night, and begot sons for thee, as well thou knowest, 
yet soon, greedy for punishment, did violence to 
myself with tearing fingers and left my eyes upon 
my wretched mother — hear me to the end, if my 
prayer be worthy and such as thou wouldest inspire 
my raging heart withal. Sightless tliough I was and 
driven from my throne, my sons, on whatever couch 
begotten, attempted not to give me guidance or 
consolation in my grief ; nay, haughtily (ah ! the 
maddening sting !) and raised to royalty with me 
long dead, they mock my blindness and abhor their 
father's groans. Do these too hold me accursed ? 
and the father of gods beholds it, and does naught ? 
Do thou at least, my due defender, come hither, and 
begin a work of vengeance that will blast their seed 
for ever ! Set on thy head the gore-drenched circlet 
that my bloody nails tore off, and inspired by their 
father's curses go thou between the brethren, and 
with the sword sunder the binding ties of kinship. 
Grant me, thou queen of Tartarus' abyss, grant me 
to see the evil that my soul desires, nor will the spirit 
of the youths be slow to follow ; come thou but 
worthy of thyself, thou shalt know them to be true 
sons of mine." 

So prayed he, and the cruel goddess turned her 
grim visage to hearken. By chance she sat beside 
dismal Cocytus, and had loosed the snakes from her 
head and suffered them to lap the sulphurous waters. 
Straightway, faster than fire of Jove or falling stars 
she leapt up from the gloomy bank : the crowd of 



vulgus et occursus dominae pavet ; ilia pei- umbras 
et caligantes animarum examine campos 95 

Taenariae limen petit im-emeabile portae. 
sensit adesse Dies, pieeo Nox obvia nimbo 
lucentes turbavit equos ; procul arduus Atlas 
horruit et dubia caelum cervice remisit. 
arripit extemplo Maleae de valle resurgens 100 

notum iter ad Thebas ; neque enim velocior ullas 
itque reditque vias cognatave Tartara mavult. 
centum illi stantes umbrabant ora cerastae, 
turba minax^ diri capitis ; sedet intus abactis 
ferrea lux oculis, qualis per nubila Phoebes 105 

Atracia rubet arte labor ; sufFusa veneno 
tenditur ac sanie gliscit cutis ; igneus atro 
ore vapor, quo longa sitis morbique famesque 
et populis mors una venit ; riget horrida tergo 
palla, et caerulei redeunt in pectora nodi : 110 

Atropos hos atque ipsa novat Proserpina cultus. 
tunc geminas quatit ira manus : haec igne rogali 
fulgurat, haec vivo manus aera verberat hydro. 

Ut stetit, abrupta qua plurimus arce Cithaeron 
occurrit caelo, fera sibila ci'ine virenti 115 

congeminat, signum terris, unde omnis Achaei 
ora maris late Pelopeaque regna resultant, 
audiit et medius caeli Parnassos et asper 
Eurotas, dubiamque iugo fragor impulit Oeten 

^ minax Lachmann : minor Pw. 

* A promontory in Laconia, which had a cave supposed 
to be an entrance to the underworld. 

* Edd. who keep "minor" explain either as the lesser 
half of the crowd of snakes, or as the small fry, compared 
with the big snake in the Fury's hand (113). 

" i.e., Thessalian. Thessaly was famous for magic spells 
and witches, cf. iii. 140. 


THEBAID, I. 94-119 

phantoms gives way before her, fearing to meet 
their queen ; then, journeying through the shadows 
and the fields dark with trooping ghosts, she hastens 
to the gate of Taenarus,** whose threshold none may 
cross and again return. Day felt her presence, 
Night interposed her pitchy cloud and startled his 
shining steeds ; far off towering Atlas shuddered 
and shifted the weight of heaven upon his trembling 
shoulders. Forthwith rising aloft from Malea's 
vale she hies her on the well-known way to Thebes : 
for on no errand is she swifter to go and to return, 
not kindred Tartarus itself pleases her so well. 
A hundred horned snakes erect shaded her face, 
the thronging terror of her awful head ; ^ deep 
within her sunken eyes there glows a light of iron 
hue, as when Atracian '' spells make travailing Phoebe 
redden through tlie clouds ; suiFused with venom, her 
skin distends and swells with corruption ; a fiery 
vapour issues from her evil mouth, bringing upon 
mankind thirst unquenchable and sickness and famine 
and universal death. From her shoulders falls a stark 
and grisly robe, whose dark fastenings meet upon her 
breast : Atropos and Proserpine herself fashion her 
this garb anew. Then both her hands are shaken 
in wrath, the one gleaming with a funeral torch, the 
other lashing the air ^vith a live water-snake. 

She halted, where the sheer heights of vast Cith- 
aeron rise to meet the sky, and sent forth from her 
green locks fierce repeated hisses, a signal to the 
land, whereupon the whole shore of the Achaean 
gulf and the realm of Pelops echoed far and wide. 
Parnassus also in mid-heaven heard it, and turbulent 
Eurotas ; with the din Oete rocked and staggered, 



in latvis, et geminis vix fluctibus obstitit Isthmos. 120 
ipsa suum genetrix curvo delphine vagantem 
abripuit frenis gremioque Palaemona pressit. 

Atque ea Cadmeo praeceps ubi culmine primum 
constitit adsuetaque infecit nube penates, 
protinus adtoniti fratrum sub pectore motus, 125 

gentilesque animos subiit furor aegraque laetis 
in\idia atque parens odii metus, inde regendi 
saevus amor, ruptaeque vices iurisque secundi 
ambitus impatiens, et summo dulcius unum^ 
stare loco, sociisque comes discordia regnis. 130 

sic ubi delectos per torva armenta iuvencos 
agricola imposito sociare adfectat aratro, 
illi indignantes, quis nondum vomere multo 
ardua nodosos cervix descendit in armos, 
in diversa trahunt atque acquis vincula laxant 135 
viribus et vario confundunt limite sulcos : 
haud secus indomitos praeceps discordia fratres 
asperat. alterni placuit sub legibus anni 
exsilio mutare ducem. sic iure maligno 
fortunam transire iubent, ut sceptra tenentem 140 
foedere praecipiti semper novus angeret heres. 
haec inter fratres pietas erat, haec mora pugnae 
sola nee in regem perduratura secundum, 
et nondum crasso laquearia fulva^ metallo, 
montibus aut alte Grais efFulta nitebant 145 

atria, congestos satis explicitura clientes : 
non impacatis regum advigilantia somnis 
pila, nee alterna ferri statione gementes 
excubiae nee cura mere committere gemmas 
atque aurum violare cibis : sed nuda potestas 150 

^ unum Poj : uno D : uni Heinsius. 
^ fulva Pw : fulta Mueller. 

" See note on i. 14. 


THEBAID, I. 120-150 

and Isthmos scarce witlistood the waves on either 
side. With her own hand his mother snatched 
Palaemon from the curved back of his straying 
dolphin steed and pressed him to her bosom.*^ 

Then the Fury, swooping headlong upon the Cad- 
mean towers, straightway cast upon the house its 
wonted gloom : troubled dismay seized the brothers' 
hearts and the madness of their race inspired them, 
and envy that repines at others' happiness, and hate- 
engendering fear ; and then fierce love of power, and 
breach of mutual covenant, and ambition that brooks 
not second place, the dearer joy of sole supremacy, 
and discord that attends on partnered rule. Even so 
would a farmer fain unite under the plough-yoke 
two picked bullocks of the savage herd, but they 
indignant — for not yet has the frequent coulter 
bowed those arching necks to the sinewy shoulders — 
pull contrariA\'ise and with strength well-matched 
break harness and confound the furrows with divers 
tracks : not otherwise does furious discord enrage 
the proud brothers. 'Twas agreed to change rule 
for exile by the ordinance of the alternate year. By 
a grudging law they bade their fortunes change, so 
that a new claimant should ever embitter the 
monarch's fast-expiring term. No other bond united 
the brethren, this was their sole stay from arms, nor 
destined to endure to a second reign. Yet then no 
ceilings glittered with thick plates of yellow gold, nor 
did quarried Grecian pillars bear aloft vast halls that 
could freely spread the serried mass of clients ; no 
spears kept guard o'er a monarch's troubled slumbers, 
no sentinels groaned at the recurring duty of the 
watch ; they thought not to entrust precious stones 
to the wine-cup, nor to soil gold with food ; 'twas for 



armavit fratres, pugna est de paupere regno. 

dumque uter angustae squalentia iugera Dirces 

verteret aut Tyrii solio non altus ovaret 

exsulis ambigitur, periit ius fasque bonumque 

et vitae mortisque pudor. quo tenditis iras, 155 

a, miseri ? quid si peteretur crimine tanto 

limes uterque poll, quern Sol emissus Eoo 

cardine, quern portu vergens prospectat Hibero, 

quasque procul terras obliquo sidere tangit 

avius^ aut borea gelidas madidive tepentes 160 

igne noti ? non si Phrygiae Tyriaeque sub unum 

convectentur opes, loca dira arcesque nefandae 

sufFecere odio, furiisque immanibus emptum 

Oedipodae sedisse loco. 

lam sorte carebat^ 
dilatus Polvnicis honos. quis tunc tibi, saeve, 165 
quis fuit ille dies, vacua cum solus in aula 
respiceres ius omne tuum cunctosque minores, 
et nusquam par stare caput ? iam murmura serpunt 
plebis Echioniae, tacitumque a principe vulgus 
dissidet, et, qui mos populis, venturus amatur. 170 
atque aliquis, cui mens humiU laesisse veneno 
summa nee impositos umquam cer\ice volenti 
ferre duces, " hancne Ogygiis," ait, " aspera rebus 
fata tulere vicem, totiens mutare timendos 
alternoque iugo dubitantia subdere coUa ? 175 

partiti versant populorum fata manuque 

^ avius (j3 : aut notus P. 
^ carebat Pw : cadebat Bernartins. 

« i.e., of course, Eteocles. 
* Theban, from Echion, king of Thebes. 
' Theban, from Ogyges, founder of Thebes according to 
one legend. 


THEBAID, I. 15i-i7fi 

naked power the brethren armed, a starveling realm 
was their cause of battle. And while they dispute 
which of the twain shall plough scant Dirce's squalid 
fields, or boast himself on the Tyrian exile's lowly 
throne, the laws of God and man are broken, right- 
eousness perisheth, and honour botJi in life and death. 
Alas ! unhappy ones ! what limits set ye to your 
wrath ? what if it were the sky's farthest bounds ye 
dared so impiously, whereon the sun looks when he 
issues from the eastern gate and when he sinks into 
his Iberian haven, or the lands he touches afar with 
slanting devious ray, lands that the North wind 
freezes or the moist South warms with fiery breath ? 
nay, even though the wealth of Phrygia and of Tyre 
were gathered as the prize ! A land of horror and 
a city God-accursed sufficed to rouse your hatred, and 
hell's madness was the price of sitting in the seat of 
Oedipus ! 

And now by the losing of the hazard Polynices saw 
his reign deferred. How proud a day for thee, fierce 
tyrant," when alone and unchallenged in thy palaee 
thou didst look and behold all power thine, all other 
men thy subjects, and never a head but bowed 
beneath thy sway ! Yet already murmurs are creep- 
ing among the Echionian '' folk, the people is at 
silent variance with its prince, and, as is the wont of 
a ci-owd, 'tis the claimant that they love. And one 
among them, whose chief thought it was to hurt by 
mean and venomous speech and never to bear the 
yoke of rulers with submissive neck, said : " Is this 
tlie lot that the hard fates have appointed for our 
Ogygian " land, so often to change those whom we 
must fear, and to give uncertain allegiance to an 
alternate sway ? From hand to hand they toss the 

VOL. I 2 A 353 


fortunam fecere levem. semperne vicissim 
exsulibus ser\ire dabor ? tibi, summe deorum 
terrarmnque satoi*, sociis banc addere mentem 
sedit ? an inde vetus Thebis extenditur omen, 180 
ex quo Sidonii nequiquani blanda iuvenci 
pondera Carpathio iussus sale quaerere Cadmus 
exsul Hyanteos invenit regna per agros, 
fraternasque acies fetae telluris hiatu 
augurium seros dimisit ad usque nepotes ? 185 

cernisj ut erectum torva sub fronte^ minetur 
saevior adsurgens dempto consorte potestas. 
quas gerit ore rninas, quanto premit omnia fastii ! 
hicne umquam privatus erit ? tamen ille precanti 
mitis et adfatu bonus et patientior aequi. 190 

quid mirum ? non solus erat. nos vilis in omnis 
prompta manus casus, domino cuicumque parati. 
quabter bine gebdus Boreas, bine nubifer Eurus 
vela trahunt, nutat mediae fortuna carinae, 
— lieu dubio suspensa metu tolerandaque nulHs 195 
aspera sors populis I — hie iniperat, ille minatur." 

At lovis imperio rapidi super atria caeli 
lectus concilio divum convenerat ordo 
interiore polo, spatiis hinc omnia iuxta, 
primaeque occiduaeque domus et fusa "^ub omni 200 
terra atque unda die. mediis sese arduus iiifert 
ipse deis, placido quatiens tamen omnia vultu, 
stellantique loeat solio ; nee protinus ausi 
caelicolae, veniam donee pater ipse sedendi 

^ sub fronte P<j : cervice 1). 
" Boeotian. See n. nn J. 6. 

THEBAID, I. 177-204 

destinies of peoples and of their own accord make 
Fortune fickle. Am I always to serve princes that 
take their turn of exile ? Is this thy will and purpose 
for thy kindred realm, great Lord of heaven and 
earth ? Does the ancient augury still have power 
for Thebes, since Cadmus, bidden search in vain the 
Carpathian sea for tlie winsome burden of the 
Sidonian bull, found an exile's kingdom in the Hyan- 
tean " fields, and in the gaping of the pregnant earth 
bequeathed the warfare of brethren as an omen to 
his posterity for ever ? See how the tyi-ant, rid of 
his colleague, rises erect more fiercely threatening 
under cruel brows ! what terror in his look, how 
overbearing his pride ! will this man ever stoop to 
subject rank ? But the other was gentle to our 
pi-ayers, affable of speech, and more patient of the 
right. What wonder ? he was not alone. A worth- 
less crowd indeed are we, ready for every chance, at 
the bidding of every lord, whosoe'er he be ! As the 
sails yield to the cold north wind on this side and to 
the cloudy east wind on that, and the vessel's fate 
hangs wavering — alas ! for the cruel, intolerable lot 
of peoples, racked by doubt and fear ! — so now one 
commands and the other threatens." 

But now by Jove's command the High Court and 
chosen council of the gods had assembled in the 
spacious halls of the revolving sphere, in heaven's 
innermost depths. Equally removed from hence is 
the whole world's extent, the abodes of east and 
west, and earth and sea outspread beneath the 
infinite sky. Loftily through their midst moves the 
King himself making all tremble, yet with counten- 
ance serene, and takes his seat on the starry throne : 
nor dare they sit, the heavenly ones, until the sire 


ST ATI us 

tranquilla iubet esse manu. mox turba vagorum 205 
semideum et summis cognati nubibus Amnes 
et compressa metu servantes murmura Venti 
aurea tecta replent. mixta convexa deorum 
maiestate tremunt, radiant maiore sereno 
culmina et arcano florentes lumine postes. 210 

postquam iussa quies siluitque exterritus orbis, 
incipit ex alto — grave et immutabile Sanctis 
pondus adest verbis, et vocem fata sequuntur — ; 
" terrarum delicta nee exsaturabile'^ Diris 
ingenium mortale queror. quonam usque nocentum 
exigar in poenas ? taedet saevire corusco 216 

fulmine, iam pridem Cyclopum operosa fatiscunt 
bracchia et Aeoliis desunt incudibus ignes. 
atque adeo tuleram falso rectore solutos 
Solis equos, caelumque rotis errantibus uri, 220 

et Phaethontea mundum squalere fa villa, 
nil actum, neque tu valida quod cuspide late 
ire per inlicitum pelago, germane, dedisti. 
nunc geminas punire domos, quis sanguinis auctor 
ipse ego, descendo. Perseos alter in Ai-gos 225 

scinditur, Aonias fluit hie ab origine Thebas. 
mens cunctis imposta manet^ : quis funera Cadnii 
nesciat et totiens excitam a sedibus imis 
Eumenidum bellasse aciem, mala gaudia matrum 
erroresque feros nemorum et reticenda deorum 230 
crimina ? vix lucis spatio, vix noctis abactae 

^ exsaturabile P: also D, with exsatiabile icritten over: 
exsuperabile ui. 

^ imposta manet Pw : infausta, infesta, etc., edd. : movet B 
Guyet : manet D icith movet written over. 

" The slaughter of the armed warriors who sprang from 
the dragon's teeth. 

* The old commentators took this as purposelj' ambiguous, 
crimes committed bj^ or against the gods. The latter mean- 


THEBAID, I. 205-231 

himself with tranquil hand permit them. Next a 
crowd of wandering demigods and Rivers, of one kin 
with the high clouds, and Winds, their clamours 
hushed by fear, throng the golden halls. The aixh- 
ing vaults of heaven are all agleam with majesty, the 
heights glow with a fuller radiance, and a light that 
is not of earth blooms upon the portals. When quiet 
was commanded and heaven's orb fell silent, he 
began from his lofty throne — the sacred words have 
authority and power immutable, and Destiny waits 
upon his voice : " Of Earth's trangressions I com- 
plain, and of Man's mind that no Avenging Powers 
can satiate. Am I ever to be spent in punishing the 
wicked ? I am weary of venting my anger with the 
flashing brand, long since are the busy arms of the 
Cyclopes failing, and the fires droop that serve 
Aeolian anvils. Yea, I had suffered the Sun's steeds 
to run free of their false driver, and heaven to be 
burned with their straying wheels and earth to be 
foul with the ashes that once were Phaethon. Yet 
naught availed it, nor that thou, brother, didst with 
thy strong spear send the sea flooding wide over the 
forbidden land. Now am I descending in punish- 
ment on two houses, whereof I am myself pro- 
genitor. The one branches from the stem to Persean 
Argos, the other flows from its source to Aonian 
Thebes. In all the implanted character abides : 
who knows not Cadmus' bloodshed "■ and the array 
of warring Furies so oft summoned from the depths 
of hell, the mothers' unhallowed joys and frenzied 
ranging of the forests, and the reproaches of gods 
that must be veiled in silence *" ? Scarce would the 

ing is the easier one, e.ff. Niobe, Pentheus, Semele, and it is 
difficult to see what the other could refer to. 



enumerare queam mores gentemque profanam. 
scandere quin etiani thalamos hie impius heres 
patris et inimeritae gremium incestare parentis 
appetiit, proprios — monstrum^ ! — revolutus in ortus. 
ille tamen superis aeterna piacula solvit 236 

proiecitque diem, nee iam amplius aethere nostro 
vescitur ; at nati — facinus sine more ! — cadentes 
calcavere oculos. iam, iam rata vota tulisti, 
dire senex ! meruere tuae, meruere tenebrae 240 
ultorem sperare lovem. nova sontibus arma 
iniciam regnis, totumque a stirpe revellam 
exitiale genus, belli mi hi semina sunto 
Adrastus socer et superis adiuncta sinistris 
conubia. hanc etiam poenis incessere gentem 245 
decretum ; neque enim arcano de pectore fallax 
Tantalus et saevae periit iniuria mensae." 

Sic pater omnipotens. ast illi saucia dictis 
flammato versans inopinum corde dolorem 
talia luno refert : " mene, o iustissime divum, 250 
me bello certare iubes ? scis, semper ut arces 
Cyclopum magnique Phoroneos inclyta fama 
seeptra viris opibusque iuvem, licet improbus illic 
custodem Phariae somno letoque iuvencae 
exstinguas, saeptis et turribus aureus intres. 255 

mentitis ignosco toris : illam odimus urbem, 

^ monstrum D Scallger : monstro Pa>. 

° Lit. "Adrastus as a father-in-law," i.e., "giving his 
daughter in marriage." 

*" When Tantalus, according to one legend, cut up his son 
Pelops and boiled him as a feast for the gods. Tantalus 
was king of Argos, though in some legends king of Lydia 
or Phrygia. " hanc " therefore means " Argive." 

' Phoroneus, son of Inachus, was commonly considered 


THEBAID, I. 232-256 

period of day or passing night avail me to recount 
the impious doings of the race. Nay, this unnatural 
heir has even ventured to climb his father's couch 
and defile the womb of his innocent mother, returning 
(oh ! horror !) to his own life's origin. Yet he has 
made atonement everlasting to the gods above, 
casting fortli from himself the light of day, nor any 
more feeds upon the air of heaven ; but his sons (a 
deed unspeakable) trampled on his eyes as they fell. 
Now, now are thy prayers fulfilled, terrible old man ! 
deserving art thou, yea, deserving in thy blindness 
to hope for Jove as thy avenger. New strife will I 
send upon the guilty realm, and uproot the whole 
stock of the deadly race. Let the gift of Adi'astus' 
daughter" and her ill-omened nuptials furnish me 
the seeds of war. This race too I am resolved to 
scoui'ge with punishment : for never hath the deceit 
of Tantalus, nor the crime of the pitiless banquet * 
been forgotten in the secret counsels of my heart." 

So spake the Almighty Sire. But wounded by his 
words and nursing sudden v/rath in a heart aflame 
Juno thus makes answer : " 'Tis I, then, jus test of 
gods, I whom thou biddest to engage in war ? for 
thou knowest how I ever give aid of men and might 
to the Cyclopean towers and the far-famed sceptre 
of great Phoi'oneus, although there thou didst ruth- 
lessly cast on sleep and slay the guardian of the 
Pharian heifer, ay, and dost enter barred turrets in 
a shower of gold.'' Concealed amours I pardon thee : 

as the founder of Argos, whose walls, like those of other 
ancient cities, were thought to have been built by the 
Cyclopes. Argus, the watcher of lo, daughter of Inachus, 
was slain there, and there Danae, daughter of king Acrisius, 
was visited by Jupiter. 


ST ATI us 

quam vultu confessus adis, ubi conscia magni 
signa tori tonitrus agis et mea fulmina torques, 
facta luaiit Thebae : cur hostes eligis Argos ? 
quin age, si tanta est thalami discordia sancti, 260 
et Samon et veteres armis exscinde Mvcenas, 
verte solo Sparten. cur usquam sanguine festo 
coniugis ara tuae, cumulo cur turis Eoi 
laeta calet ? melius votis Mareotica fumant 
Coptos et aerisoni lugentia flumina Xili. 265 

quod si prisca luunt auctorum crimina gentes 
subvenitque tuis sera haec sententia curis, 
"^^ percensere ae\i senium, quo tempore tandem 
terrarum furias abolere et saecula retro 
emendare sat est ? iamdudum ab sedibus illis 270 
incipe, fluctivaga qua praeterlabitur unda 
Sicanios longe relegens Alpheos amores. 
Arcades hie tua — nee pudor est^delubra nefastis 
imposuere locis, illic Mavortius axis 
Oenomai Geticoque pecus stabulare sub Haemo 275 
dignius, abruptis etiamnum inhumata procorum 
relliquiis trunca ora rigent. tamen hie tibi templi 
gratus honos, placet Ida nocens mentitaque manes 
Creta tuos. me Tantaleis consistere terris,^ 

1 terris Q : tectis P: regnis D: considere regnis Heinsius. 

" Thebes : the reference is to his union with Semele, 
when he revealed himself in all his majesty ^vith thunder 
and lightning. 

*" i.e., why should I be worshipped as a goddess at all, 
when I am so dishonoured by you ? 1. 265 again alludes 
to lo, with whom Isis, worshipped by the Egyptians, was 
\ commonly identified. 

■^ Where were the man-eating horses of king Diomede of 
Thrace. Those of Oenomaus, king of Pisa, used to devour 


THEBAID, I. 257-279 

that city " I hate where thou goest undisguised, 
where thou soundest the thunders that proclaim our 
high union, and wieldest the Hghtnings that are 
mine. Let Thebes atone her crimes ; why dost thou 
choose Argos as her foe ? Nay, if such discord hath 
seized our holy marriage-chamber, go, raze Sparta 
to the ground, bring war's destruction upon Samos 
and old Mycenae. Why anywhere ^ is tlie altar of 
thy spouse made warm by sacrificial blood or fragrant 
with heaps of eastern incense ? Sweeter is the smoke 
that rises from the votive shrines of Mai'eotic Coptos 
or from the wailing crowds and brazen gongs of river 
Nile. But if 'tis the evil deeds of former men that 
mankind now doth expiate, and this resolve hath 
come so tardily to minister to thy wrath, to cast back 
thy gaze through days of old, at what far stage of 
time doth it suffice to drive away earth's madness 
and purge the backward-reaching ages ? Choose 
straightway that spot for thy beginning where 
Alpheus following afar the track of his Sicanian love 
glides by with sea-wandering wave. Here on ac- 
cursed ground the Arcadians set thee a shrine — yet 
it shames thee not — here is Oenomaus' chariot of 
war and the steeds more fitly stalled beneath Getic 
Haemus,'' nay even yet the severed heads and 
mangled corpses of the suitors lie stark and un- 
buried. Yet hast thou here the welcome honours of 
a temple, yea, and guilty Ida ** pleases thee, and Crete 
that tells falsely of thy death. Why dost thou 

the suitors to the hand of his daughter Hippodamia whom 
lie defeated in a chariot-race. 

"^ In Crete ; for the charge cf. Callimachus, Hymn to 
Zeus, 1. 8, where he accuses the Cretans of speaking of tlie 
death of /yens, whereas Zeus is alive and immortal. 




quae tandem invidia est ? belli deflecte tumultus 280 
et generis miseresce tui. sunt impia late 
regna tibi, melius generos passura nocentes." 

Finierat precibus miscens convicia luno. 
at non ille gravis dictis, quamquam aspera motu, 
reddidit haec : " equidem baud rebar te mente 
secunda 285 

laturam, quodcumque tuos, licet aequus, in Argos - 

eonsulerem, neque me, si detur copia, fallit ■ 

multa super Thebis Bacchum ausuramque Dionen ^ 

dicere, sed nostri reverentia ponderis obstat. 
horrendos etenim latices, Stygia aequora fratris 290 
obtestor, mansurum atque inrevocabile verbum,^ 
nil fore, quod dictis flectar ! quare impiger alis^ 
portantes praecede notos, Cyllenia proles, 
aera per liquidum regnisque inlapsus opacis 
die patruo : superas senior se adtollat ad auras 295 
Laius, exstinctum nati quern vulnere nondum 
ulterior Lethes accepit ripa profundi 
lege Erebi ; ferat hie diro mea iussa nepoti : 
germanum exsilio fretum Argolicisque tumentem 
hospitiis, quod sponte cupit, procul impius aula 300 
arceat, alternum regni infitiatus honorem. 
hinc causae irarum, certo reliqua ordine ducam." 

Paret Atlantiades dictis genitoris et inde 
summa pedum propere plantaribus inligat alis, 
obnubitque comas et temperat astra galero. 305 

^ verbum Scriverius : verum Pio. 
^ alis Gruter : ales Pw. 

" "aspera," because his words were intended to embroil 
the brothers yet more. 

* Mercury, son of Jupiter, born on Mt. Cyllene in Arcadia. 
His mother Maia was the daughter of Atlas (303J. 


THEBAID, I. 280-305 

grudge me then to abide in my Tantalean land ? 
Tm'n hence the tumults of war, and have compassion 
on thine own blood. Many a wide and wicked realm 
hast thou, that can better suffer the criines of 
offending sons." 

Juno had finished her mingled entreaty and 
reproach. But he made reply, not in hard words, 
though cruel" was its purport : "In truth I deemed 
not that thou wouldest bear with favouring mind all 
that I might devise, albeit justly, against thy Argos, 
nor does it escape me that, did occasion grant, 
Bacchus and Dione would dare to make long plead- 
ing on Thebes' behalf, but reverence for my authority 
forbids. For by those awful waters, my brother's 
Stygian stream, I swear — an oath abiding and irre- 
vocable, — that naught will make me waver from my 
word ! Wherefore, my Cyllenian,* in winged speed 
outstrip the winds that bear thee, and gliding through 
the limpid air down to the dusky realms tell this 
message to thy uncle : Let old Laius betake himself 
to the world above, Laius, whom his son's blow bereft 
of life and whom by the law of Erebus profound 
the further bank of Lethe hath not yet received ; 
let him bear my commands to his hateful grandson : 
His brother, to whom exile has brought confidence 
and his Argive friendship boastful pride, let him in 
despite of kin keep far from his halls — as already he 
doth well desire — and deny him the alternate honour 
of the crown. So will angry deeds be begotten, and 
the rest will I lead on in order due." 

Obedient to his father's word the grandson of 
Atlas straightway fastens on his ankles the winged 
sandals, and with wide hat veils his locks and tempers 
the brilliance of the stars. Then he took in his right 



turn dextrae virgam inseruit, qua pelleve diilces 
aut suadere iterum somnos, qua nigra subire 
Tartara et exsanguis animare adsueverat umbras, 
desiluit, tenuique exceptus inhorruit^ aura, 
nee mora, sublimis raptim per inane volatus 310 

carpit et ingenti designat nubila gyro. 

Interea patriis olim vagus exsul ab oris 
Oedipodionides fui'to deserta pererrat 
Aoniae. iamiamque animi^ male debita regna 
concipit, et longum signis cunctantibus annum 315 
stare gemit. tenet una dies noctesque recursans 
cura virum, si quando humilem decedere regno 
germanum et semet Thebis opibusque potitum 
cerneret ; hac aevum cupiat pro luce^ pacisci. 
nunc queritur ceu tarda fugae dispendia, sed mox 320 
attollit flatus ducis et sedisse superbus 
deiecto iam fratre putat : spes anxia mentem 
extrahit et longo consumit gaudia voto. 
tunc sedet Inachias urbes Danaeiaque arva 
et caligantes abrupto sole Mycenas 325 

ferre iter impavidum, seu praevia ducit Erinys, 
seu fors ilia viae, sive hac immota vocabat 
Atropos. Ogygiis ululata furoribus antra 
deserit et pingues Baccheo sanguine colics, 
inde plagam, qua molle sedens in plana Cithaeron 330 
porrigitur lassumque inclinat ad aequora montem, 

^ inhorruit in D has " perstrepit " icrltten above it. 
^ animi Mueller : animis Pw : animus Q Baehrens. 
^ luce Pu3 : laude Q (luce above). 

" Or " hurtled " ; see critical note. 

*" Inachus and Danaus were former kings of Argos. 
Mycenae was shrouded in darkness as a sign of divine anger 

THEBAID, I. 306-331 

hand the wand wherewith he was wont to dispel or 
call again sweet slumber, wherewith to enter the 
gates of gloomy Tartarus or summon back dead souls 
to life. Then down he leapt, and slmddered " as the 
frail air received him ; delaying not, he Mings his 
speedy flight through the void on high, and draws a 
mighty curve upon the clouds. 

Meanwhile the son of Oedipus, long time a wander- 
ing outlaw from his father's lands, traverses by 
stealth the waste places of Aonia. Already he 
broods on the lost realm that was his due, and cries 
that the long year stands motionless in its tardy 
constellations. One thought recurring night and 
day holds him, could he ever but behold his kinsman 
degraded from the throne, and himself master of 
Thebes and all its power ; a lifetime would he bargain 
for that day. Now he complains that his exile is 
but time consumed in idleness, but soon the gust of 
princely pride swells higli, and he fancies his brother 
already cast down and himself seated proudly in his 
place ; fretful hope keeps his mind busy, and in far- 
reaching prayers he tastes all his heart's desire. Then 
he resolves to journey undismayed to the Inachian 
cities and Danaan lands and to Mycenae dark with 
the sun's withdrawal,** whether it were the Fury 
piloting his steps, or the chance direction of the road, 
or the summoning of resistless Fate. He leaves the 
Ogygian glades that resound with frenzied bowlings, 
and the hills that drink deep of Bacchic gore,*^ tlien 
passes the region where long Cithaeron settles gently 
to the plain and stoops his weary height to the sea. 

when Atreus served up the sons of Thyestes as a meal for 
their father. 

" Blood shed in worship of Bacchus. 


ST ATI us 

praeterit. liinc arte scopuloso in liniite pendens 
infames Scirone petras Scyllaeaque rura 
purpureo regnata seni mitemque Corinthon 
linquit et in mediis audit duo litora campis 335 

lamque per emeriti surgens confinia Phoebi 
Titanis late, mundo subvecta silenti, 
rorifera gelidum tenuaverat aera biga : 
iam pecudes volucresque tacent, iam Somnus avaris 
inrepsit curis pronusque ex aethere nutat, 340 

grata laboratae referens oblivia vitae. 
sed nee puniceo rediturum nubila caelo 
promisere iubar, nee rarescentibus umbris 
longa repereusso nituere crepuscula Phoebo : 
densior a terris et nulli pervia flammae 345 

subtexit nox atra polos, iam elaustra rigentis 
Aeoliae percussa sonant, venturaque rauco 
ore minatur hiemps, venti transversa frementes 
confligunt axemque emoto eardine vellunt, 
dum caelum sibi quisque rapit ; sed plurimus Auster 
inglomerat noctem, tenebrosa volumina torquens, 351 
defunditque imbres, sicco quos asper hiatu 
praesolidat Boreas ; nee non abrupta tremiscunt 
fulgura, et attritus subita face rumpitur aether, 
iam Nemea,^ iam Taenariis contermina lucis 355 

Arcadiae capita alta madent ; ruit agmine magno 
Inachus et gelidas surgens Erasinus in undas.^ 

1 Nemea w : Nemeae P. 

^ gelidas surgens E. in undas gelidas w : vergens P : in 
undas P : ad arctos Pew : surgens BD : gelida s. E. in unda 

" Scylla was the daughter of Nisus, king of Megara, who 
had the purple lock. 

* i.e., there was no morning twilight giving promise of 


THE13A1D, I. 331'- 357 

Thereafter with dizzy climb along a rocky path he 
puts behind him Sciron's infamous cliffs and Scylla's 
country where the purple monarch ruled," and kindly 
Corinth, and in the midmost plain hears two shores 

But now through the wide domains which Phoebus, 
his day's work ended, had left bare, rose the Titanian 
queen, borne upward through a silent world, and 
with her dewy chariot cooled and rarefied the air ; 
now birds and beasts are hushed, and Sleep steals o'er 
the greedy cares of men, and stoops and beckons 
from the sky, shrouding a toilsome life once more 
in sweet obUvion. Yet no reddening clouds gave 
promise of the light's return, nor as the shadows 
lessened did the twilight gleam with long shafts of 
sun-reflecting radiance ; ** black night, blacker to 
earthward and shot by never a ray, veiled all the 
pole. And now the rocky prisons of Aeolia " are 
smitten and groan, and the coming storm threatens 
with hoarse bellowing : tlie winds loud clamouring 
meet in conflicting currents, and fling loose heaven's 
vault from its fastened hinges, while each strives for 
mastery of the sky ; but Auster most violent thickens 
gloom on gloom with whirling eddies of darkness, 
and pours down rain which keen Boreas with his 
freezing breath hardens into hail ; quivering light- 
nings gleam, and from the colliding air bursts sudden 
fire. Already Nemea and the high peaks of Ai'cadia 
that border the forests of Taenarum are drenched ; 
Inachus flows in miglity spate, and Erasinus swelling 

the coming clay. " longa " might be taken as long-abiding, 
not far-streaming. 

" The domain of Aeolus, lord of the winds, as in Virg. 
Aen. i. 52. 


ST ATI us 

pulverulenta prius calcataque flumina nuUae 
aggeribus tenuere morae, stagnoque refusa est 
f'unditus et veteri spumavit Lerna veneno. 360 

frangitur omne nemus, rapiunt antiqua procellae 
bracchia silvarum, nullisque aspecta per aevum 
solibus umbrosi patuere aestiva Lycaei. 
ille tamen, modo saxa iugis fugientia ruptis 
miratus, modo nubigenas e montibus amnes 365 

aure^ pavens passimque insano turbine raptas 
pastorum pecorumque domos, non segnius amens 
incertusque viae per nigra silentia vastum 
haurit iter ; pulsat metus undique et undique frater. 
ac velut hiberno deprensus navita ponto, 370 

cui neque Tenio piger neque aniico sidere monstrat 
Luna vias, medio caeli pelagique tumultu 
stat rationis inops, iamiamque aut saxa malignis 
exspectat submersa vadis aut vertice acuto 
spumantes scopulos erectae incurrere prorae : 375 
talis opaca legens nemorum Cadmeius heros 
adcelerat, vasto metuenda umbone ferarum 
excutiens stabula, et prono virgulta refringit 
pectore ; dat stimulos animo vis maesta timoris, 
donee ab Inachiis victa caligine tectis 380 

emicuit lucem devexa in moenia fundens 
Larisaeus apex, illo spe concitus omni 
evolat, hinc celsae lunonia templa Prosymnae 
laevus habens, hinc Hereuleo signata vapore 
Lernaei stagna atra vadi, tandemque reelusis 385 

^ aure Ptxi : ire Laclimann. 

" Nothing else is known of this place. 
* Hercules used tire to burn away the hydra's heads. 

THEBAID, I. 358-385 

higli into icy billows. Streams that before were 
dusty road-tracks now defy all stay of confining 
bank, Lerna surges up from her deepest depths and 
foams with her ancient poison. Shattered are all 
the forests, aged boughs are swept out upon the 
storm, and the shady summer-haunts of Lycaeus, 
unbeheld before by any suns, are now stripped bare 
to view. Yet he, now marvelling at the rocks down- 
hurled from the cloven mountains, now listening in 
terror to the cloud-born torrents dashing from the 
hills, and the raging flood whirling away home of 
shepherd and stall of beast, slackens not his pace, 
though distraught and uncertain of his way, but 
through the dark silences devours the lonely stretches 
of his road ; on every side fear and the thought of 
his brother assail his heart. And just as a sailor, 
caught in a tempest on the deep, to whom neither 
lazy Wain nor Moon with friendly beam show bear- 
ings, stands beggared of resource in mid-tumult of 
sky and sea, and even now expects the treacherous 
reef submerged beneath the wave, or waits to see 
foaming jagged rocks fling themselves at his prow 
and heave it high in air : so the Cadmean hero 
threads the darkness of the forests with hastening 
step, while with huge shield he braves the lairs of 
fearsome beasts and forward-stooping thrusts through 
the brushwood thickets ; terror's sombre influence 
adds spurs to his resolve, till from above the town of 
Inachus, conquering the gloom with beam of light 
downpoured upon the shelving walls, shone forth 
the Larissaean height. Thither sped by every hope 
he hies him fast, with Juno's temple of Prosymna " 
high on his left hand, and yonder the black marsh of 
Lerna's water branded by Herculean fire,'' and at 
VOL. I 2 B 369 

ST ATI us 

infertur portis. actutum regia cernit 
vestibula ; hie artus imbri ventoque rigentes 
proicit ignotaeque adclinis postibus aulae 
invitat tenues ad dura cubilia soninos. 

Rex ibi tranquille, medio de limite vitae 390 

in senium vergens, populos Adrastus habebat, 
dives avis et utroque lovem de sanguine ducens. 
hie sexus mehoris inops, sed prole virebat 
feminea, gemino natarum pignore fultus. 
cui Phoebus generos — monstrum exi Habile dictu ! 395 
mox adaperta fides — fato^ ducente canebat 
saetigerumque suem et fulvum adventare leonem. 
id volvens non ipse pater, non docte futuri 
Amphiarae vides, etenim vetat auctor Apollo, 
tantum in corde sedens aegrescit cura parent! . 400 

Eeee autem antiquam fato Calvdona relinquens 
Olenius^ Tydeus — fraterni sanguinis ilium 
conscius horror agit — eadem sub nocte sopora 
lustra terit, similesque notos dequestus et imbres, 
infusam tergo glaciem et liquentia nimbis 405 

ora eomasque gerens subit uno tegmine, cuius 
fusus humo gelida partem prior hospes habebat. 
hie vero ambobus rabiem fortuna cruentam 
adtulit : haud passi sociis defendere noctem 
culminibus, paulum alternis in verba minasque 410 
cunctantur ; mox ut iactis sermonibus irae 
intumuere satis, tum vero erectus uterque 
exsertare umeros nudamque lacessere pugnam. 
celsior ille gradu procera in membra simulque 

^ fato P : aevo w. 
^ Olenius Pw : Oenius 1) : Oeneus Heinslus. 

" i.e., Aetolian, from a town called Olenos. 

THEBAID, I. 386-414 

length the gates are opened and he enters. Straight- 
way he spies the royal portals ; there he flings down 
his limbs stiffened with rain and wind, and leaning 
against the unknown palace doors woos gentle 
slumber to his hard couch. 

There king Adrastus, verging now toward old age 
from life's mid-course, ruled his folk in tranquil 
governance, rich in the wealth of ancestry, and 
on either side tracing his line to Jove. Issue lacked 
he of the stronger sex, but was prosperous in female 
offspring : two daughters gave him pledge of love 
and service. To him had Phoebus at fate's bidding 
told that sons-in-law drew nigh — a deadly horror to 
tell ! yet soon was the truth made manifest — in the 
shapes of bristly swine and tawny lion. Naught 
comprehends the sire therein for all his ponderings, 
nor thou, wise Amphiaraus, for thy master Apollo 
forbids. , Only the father's heart sickens ever in 
deep-felt anxiety. 

But lo ! Olenian " Tydeus leaving ancient Calydon 
by fate's decree — the guilty terror of a brother's 
blood drives him forth — treads beneath night's 
slumbrous veil the same wild ways, bewailing like- 
wise wind and rain, and with ice-sheeted back, and 
fjice and hair streaming with the storm, comes to 
the self-same shelter, whereof the former stranger, 
stretched on the cold earth, had part. Thereat so 
chanced it that both were seized with bloody rage, 
and suffered not a shared roof to ward off the night ; 
for a while they tarry with exchange of threatening 
words, then when flung taunts had swelled their 
anger to the pitch, each uprose, set free his shoulders, 
and challenged to naked combat. Taller the Tlieban, 
with long stride and towering limbs and in life's 


ST ATI us 

integer annorum, sed^ non et viribus infra 415 

Tydea fert animus, totosque infusa per artus 
maior in exiguo regnabat corpore virtus. 
iam crebros ictus ora et cava tempora circum 
obnixi ingeminant, telorum aut grandinis instar 
Riphaeae, flexoque genu vacua ilia tundunt. 420 

non aliter quam Pisaeo sua lustra Tonanti 
cum redeunt crudisque virum sudoribus ardet 
pulvis ; at hinc teneros caveae dissensus ephebos 
concitat, exclusaeque exspectant praemia matres : 
sic alacres odio nullaque cupidine laudis 425 

accensi incurrunt, scrutatur et intima vultus 
unca manus penitusque oculis cedentibus intrat.^ 
forsan et accinctos lateri — sic ira ferebat — 
nudassent enses, meliusque hostilibus armis 
lugendus fratri, iuvenis Thebane, iaceres, 430 

ni rex, insolituni clamorem et pectore ab alto 
stridentes gemitus noctis miratus in umbris, 
movisset gressus, magnis cui sobria curis 
pendebat somno iam deteriore senectus. 
isque ubi progrediens numerosa luce per alta 435 

atria dimotis adverso limine claustris 
terribilem dictu faciem, lacera ora putresque 
sanguineo videt imbre genas : " quae causa furoris, 
externi iuvenes— neque enim mens audeat istas 
civis in usque manus — , quisnam implacabilis ardor 440 
exturbare odiis tranquilla silentia noctis ? 
usque adeone angusta dies et triste, parumper 
pacem animo somnumque pati ? sed prodite tandem, 
unde orti, quo fertis iter, quae iurgia ? nam vos 
^ sed Pw : nee Priscian. * intrat P : instat w. 

" Statius here has Homer in mind : jjuKpbs jj-^v ^-qv Sefxas, 
dWd ixaxnT-qs (of Tydeus, II. v. 801). 
* i.e., Olympian Zeus. 


THEBAID, I. 415-444 

prime, yet was Tydeus in strength and spirit no whit 
the less, and though his frame was smaller greater 
valour in every part held sway." Then closing 
fiercely they deal many a blow on face and temple, 
like sliowers of darts or Rhipaean hail, and with bent 
knee belabour hollow loins. Even as when the fifth 
year brings back his festival to the Pisaean Thun- 
derer,'' and all is dust and heat and the crude sweat 
of men, while yonder the rival favours of the cro\A d 
urge on the youthful striplings, and the mothers, 
excluded from the scene, await the prizes of their 
sons : so these with but hate to spur them, and in- 
flamed by no lust of praise, fall on, and the sharp 
nails probe far into their faces and force their way 
into the yielding eyes. Perchance — so hot their 
anger — they had bared the swords girt to their sides, 
and thou hadst lain, O Theban youth, the victim of 
a foeman's arms — far better so — and earned a 
brother's meed of tears, had not the king, marvelling 
at the night's unwonted clamour and the fierce 
panting groans deep-heaved, bent his steps thither : 
age and the burden of grave cares held him now in 
broken fitful slumber. And when proceeding through 
the high halls with attendant train of torches he 
beheld, the bars undone, upon the fronting threshold 
a sight terrible to tell, faces torn and cheeks dis- 
figured with streaming blood : " Whence this fury, 
stranger youths ? " he cx'ied, " for no citizen of mine 
would dare such violence as this ; whence this im- 
placable desire to let your hate disturb the tranquil 
silence of the night ? Has then day so little room, 
or is it grievous to suffer, even for a while, sleep and 
peace of mind ? But now come tell me, whence are 
ye sprung, whither do ye fare, and what may be 


ST ATI us 

baud humiles tanta ira docet, generisque superbi 445 
magna per effusum clarescunt signa cruorem." 
Vix ea, cum mixto clamore obliqua tuentes 
incipiunt una : " rex o mitissime Achivum, 
quid verbis opus ? ipse undantis sanguine vultus 
aspicis.^^ haec passim turbatis vocis amarae 450 

eonfudere sonis ; inde orsus in ordine Tydeus 
continuat : " maesti cupiens solacia casus 
monstriferae Calvdonis opes Acheloiaque arva 
deserui ; vestris haec me ecce in finibus ingens 
nox operit. tecto caelum prohibere quis iste 455 
arcuit ? an quoniam prior haec ad limina forte 
molitus gressus ? pariter stabulare bimembres 
Centauros unaque ferunt Cyclopas in Aetna 
compositos. sunt et rabidis iura insita monstris 
fasque suum : nobis sociare^ cubilia terrae — 460 

sed quid ego ? aut hodie spoliis gavisus abibis, 
quisquis es, his, aut me, si non efFetus oborto 
sanguis hebet luctu, magni de stirpe creatum 
Oeneos et Marti non degenerare paterno 
accipies." " nee nos animi nee stirpis egentes — " 465 
ille refert contra, sed mens sibi conscia fati 
cunctatur proferre patrem. tunc mitis Adrastus : 
" immo agite, et positis, quas nox inopinaque suasit 
aut virtus aut ira, minis succedite tecto. 
iam pariter coeant animorum in pignora dextrae, 470 
non haec incassum di\'isque absentibus acta ; 
forsan et has venturus amor praemiserit iras, 

^ suum nobis Pw : suum ut nobis Garrod : nobis sociare 
Po) : sociae novisse Postgate : bines sociare Housman : norunt 
sociare Baehrens. Housman brackets as parenthesis sunt . . . 
suum, Garrod sunt . . . nobis, 


THEBAID, I. 445-472 

your quarrel ? Mean of soul ye cannot be — such 
anger proves it — even through bloodshed the noble 
signs of a proud race show clear." 

Scarce had he spoken, when with mingled clamour 
and sidelong glance together they begin : " Achaean 
prince ! most gracious monarch ! what need of 
words ? thou seest thyself this face all bloody "- — 
their words are lost in the confused sound of bitter 
accents. Then Tydeus taking first place of speech 
thus recounts his tale : " Desiring solace for my 
unhappy lot I left the wealth of Calydon, nurse of 
monsters, and the Acheloian fields : and lo ! in your 
l)oundaries deepest night o'ertakes me. Who was he 
to forbid me shelter from the sky ? or was it because 
he won his way first to this threshold ? But twy- 
form Centaurs stall with eacli other, so 'tis said, and 
Cyclopes have peace together beneath Aetna ; nay 
even to wild monsters nature has given laws and 
their own rule of right ; and for us to share a lodging 
on the ground — ? but why waste words ? either 
thou, whoe'er thou art, shalt to-day depart rejoicing 
in my spoils, or, if rising pain dulls not my blood, 
thou shalt know me to be of mighty Oeneus' stock 
and no degenerate scion of my forefather Mars ! 
" Nor lack I spirit or race " returns the other, but 
conscious in his heart of ruthless fate he hesitates to 
name his sire. Then kindly Adrastus : " Nay come 
now, cease the threatening words which night or 
sudden wrath or valour prompted, and pass beneath 
my palace-roof. Now let your riglit hands be joined 
to pledge your hearts. These doings have not been 
vain nor without the sanction of the powers above : 
perchance even these angry quarrels do but fore- 
shadow a friendship to come, so that ye may have 


ST ATI us 

ut meminisse iuvet. " nee vana voee locutus 

fata senex, siquidem banc perhibent per^ vulnera 

isse^ fidem, quanta partitum extrema protervo 475 
Thesea Pirithoo, vel inanem mentis Oresten 
opposite rabidam Pylade vitasse Megaeram. 
tunc quoque mulcenteni dictis corda aspera regem 
iam faciles, ventis ut decertata residunt 
aequora, laxatisque diu tamen aura superstes 480 
immoritur velis, passi subiere penates. 

Hie primum lustrare oculis cultusque virorum 
telaque magna vacat : tergo \idet huius inanem 
impexis utrimque iubis horrere leonem, 
illius in speciem, quem per Teumesia tempe 485 

Amphitryoniades fraetum iuvenalibus annis^ 
ante Cleonaei vestitus proelia monstri. 
terribiles contra saetis ac dente recurve 
Tydea per latos umeros ambire laborant 
exuviae, Calydonis honos. stupet omine tanto 490 
defixus senior, divina oracula Phoebi 
agnoscens monitusque datos vocalibus antris. 
obtutu gelida ora premit, laetusque per artus 
horror iit ; sensit manifesto numine ductos 
adfore, quos nexis ambagibus augur Apollo 495 

portendi generos, vultu fallente ferarum, 
ediderat. tunc sic tendens ad sidera palmas ; 
" nox, quae terrarum caelique amplexa labores 
ignea multivago transmittis sidera lapsu, 

1 per P : post w. ^ isse Gruter : esse Pw. 

^ annis PB : armis w : annis D {with armis above). 

" Because he tried to carrj^ off Proserpine. 

* One of the Furies who pursued Orestes when he had 
slain his mother. 

' Teumesus is a mountain near Thebes. 

THEBAID, I. 473-499 

pleasure in remembrance." Nor were the old man's 
words an empty presage, for they say that from 
their comradeship in wounds grew such loyalty as 
Tiieseus showed when he shared extremest peril with 
wanton " Pirithous, or Pylades when he rescued 
distraught Orestes from the fury of Megaera.'' So 
then, yielding their savage hearts to the king's 
soothing words — even as waters that winds have 
made their battleground sink to rest, and yet on the 
drooping sails one surviving breath is long in dying 
— even so submissive they entered the palace. 

Here first he has leisure to let his glance pass 
oer the heroes' dress and mighty weapons. On 
Polynices' back he spies a lion flayed, all rough with 
uncombed mane, like to that one which in the 
Teumesian'^ glades Amphitryon's son laid low in his 
boyish years and clothed himself withal, before the 
battle with the monster of Cleonae.** Tydeus' broad 
shoulders the proud spoils of Calydon, grim with 
bristles and curved fang, strive to enfold. Aghast 
and motionless stands the old king at so dire an 
omen, calling to mind the divine oracles of Phoebus 
and the warning uttered from the inspired cell. His 
countenance is fixed in frozen silence, while through 
his limbs ran a thrill of joy ; he felt that they 
had come, led by heaven's clear prompting, whom 
prophetic Apollo in riddling obscurities had fore- 
shown to be his destined sons-in-law, under the 
feigned guise of beasts. Then stretching forth his 
hands to the stars, " O Night," he cries, " who castest 
thy mantle over toiling earth and heaven, and 
sendest the fiery stars on their divers roaming courses, 

'' The Nemean lion ; Cleonae, a village near Nemea. 


ST ATI us 

indulgens reparare animum, dum proximus aegris 500 

infundat Titan agiles animantibus ortus, 

tu niihi perplexis quaesitam erroribus ultro 

advehis alma fidem veterisque exordia fati 

detegis : adsistas operi tuaque omina firmes. 

semper honoratam dimensis orbibus anni 505 

te domus ista colet ; nigri tibi, diva, litabunt 

electa cervice greges, lustraliaque exta 

lacte novo perfusus edet Vulcanius ignis. 

salve pi'isca fides tripodum obscurique recessus ! 

deprendi, Fortuna, deos ! " sic fatus, et ambos 510 

innectens manibus tecta interiorisi ad aulae 

progreditur. canis etiamnum altaribus ignes 

sopitum cinerem et tepidi libamina sacri 

servabant ; adolere focos epulasque recentes 

instaurare iubet. dictis parere ministri 515 

certatim adcelerant ; vario strepit icta tumultu 

regia : pars ostro tenues auroque sonantes 

emunire toros alteque inferre tapetas, 

pars teretes levare manu ac disponere mensas. 

ast alii tenebras et opacam vincere noctem 520 

adgressi tendunt auratis vincula lychnis. 

his labor inserto torrere exsanguia ferro 

viscera caesarum pecudum, his cumulare canistris 

perdomitam saxo Cererem ; laetatur Adrastus 

obsequio fervere domum. 

lamqiie ipse superbis 525 
fulgebat stratis solioque effultus eburno. 
parte alia iuvenes siccati vulnera lyniphis 
discumbunt, simul ora notis foedata tuentur 

^ interioris Schrader : ulterioris Pto. 

THEBAID, I. 500-528 

gracious refresher of the mind, till the next sun shed 
blitlxe upspringing upon faint mortality, thou, kindly 
Night, dost bring me of thy bounty assurance long 
sought in perplexity and doubt, and dost reveal the 
ancient purposes of fate : aid now my work, and 
certify the omens thou hast given. Ever shall this 
house throughout the circling periods of the year 
hold thee high in honour and in worship ; black bulls 
of chosen beauty shall pay thee sacrifice, O goddess ! 
and V^ulcan's fire shall eat the lustral entrails, where- 
o'er the new milk streams. Hail, ancient truth of 
mystic Tripod ! hail, secret grotto ! I have found, 
O Fortune, that the gods are gods indeed ! " So 
saying, and joining arms with both he goes forward 
to the inner chamber of his dwelling. Even yet the 
fires slumbered in the grey ashes on the altars, and 
the poured offerings of the sacrifice were yet warm ; 
he bids the flames again be roused and the late 
banquet be renewed. His henchmen obey his words 
in emulous haste : manifold tumult echoes through- 
out the palace. Some array the couches with delicate 
purple and rustling embroidery of gold and pile the 
cushions high, some polish smooth and place in order 
the tables : others again set about to banish the 
darkness of gloomy night by stretching chains for 
gilded lanterns ; these have the task of roasting on 
a spit's point the bloodless flesh of slain beasts, those 
of crushing grain on a stone and heaping the bread 
in baskets ; Adrastus rejoices to see his house aglow 
with obedient service. 

And now he himself, raised high on the proud 
cushions of an ivory tin-one, shone resplendent ; 
elsewhere the youths recline, their wounds healed 
with cleansing water, and beholding each other's 


ST ATI us 

inque vicem ignoscunt. tunc rex longaevus Acasten — 
natarum haec altrix eadem et fidissima custos 530 
lecta sacrum iustae V'eneri occultare pudorem — 
imperat acciri tacitaque immurmurat aure.^ 

Nee mora praeceptis, cum protinus utraque virgo 
arcano egressae thalamo : mirabile visu, 
Pallados armisonae pharetrataeque ora Dianae 535 
aequa ferunt, terrore minus, nova deinde pudori 
visa virum facies : pariter pallorque ruborque 
purpureas hausere genas, oculique verentes 
ad sanctum rediere patrem. postquam ordine mensae 
victa fames, signis perfectam auroque nitentem 540 
lasides pateram famulos ex more poposcit, 
qua Danaus libare deis seniorque Phoroneus 
adsueti. tenet haec operum caelata figuras : 
aureus^ anguicomam praesecto Gorgona collo 
ales habet, iamiamque vagas — ita visus^ — in auras 545 
exsilit ; ilia graves oculos languentiaque ora 
paene movet vivoque etiam pallescit in auro. 
hinc Phrygius fulvis venator tollitur alis, 
Gargara desidunt surgenti et Troia recedit, 
stant maesti comites, frustraque sonantia lassant 550 
ora canes umbramque petunt et nubila latrant. 
hanc undante mere fundens vocat ordine cunctos 
caelicolas, Phoebum ante alios, Phoebum omnis ad 

^ tacitaque . . . aure Pw : tacitaeque , . . auri Klotz : tacite- 
que . . . auri Deipser: tacitoque . . . ore Koestlin. 
^ aureus Pui : Perseus Bentley. 
^ ita visus Pw : gavisus D. 

" " hausere " is used by a startling zeugma both with 
"pallor" (its natural use), and with "rubor" (for "suf- 

'' He was a former king of Argos. 


THEBAIC, I. 629-553 

scarred visages bear mutual forgiveness. Then the 
aged king bids Acaste be summoned — liis daughters' 
nurse and trusty guardian, chosen to keep ward on 
maiden modesty consecrated to lawful wedlock — - 
and murmurs in her silent ear. 

She stayed not upon his bidding, but straightway 
both maidens came forth from their secret bower, in 
countenance, marvellous to tell, like to quiver- 
bearing Diana and warrior Pallas, yet without their 
terror. They spy the new faces of the heroes and 
are shamed ; pallor at once and blushes made havoc of 
their bright cheeks, and their timorous eyes resought 
their reverend sire." When in the banquet's course 
hunger was quelled, the son of lasus,* as his custom 
was, bade his thralls bring a goblet fair -wrought 
with figures and shining with gold, wherefrom both 
Danaus and elder Phoroneus were wont to pour 
libation to the gods. Thereon was embossed work of 
images : all golden, a winged youth holds the snake- 
tressed Gorgon's severed head, and even upon the 
moment — so it seems— leaps up into the wandering 
breeze ; she almost moves her heavy eyes and droop- 
ing head, and even grows pale in the living gold.'' 
Here the Phrygian hunter <* is borne aloft on tawny 
wings, Gargara's range sinks downwards as he rises 
and Troy grows dim beneath him ; sadly stand his 
comrades, in vain the hounds weary their throats 
with barking and pursue his shadow or bay at the 
clouds. From this he pours the streaming wine and 
in order due calls on all the denizens of heaven, 
Phoebus before the rest ; Phoebus' presence all 

" Gold is naturally pale, and so suggests the face growing 
pale in death : " vivo " means the natural, native metal, 
cf. " vivoque sedilia saxo." ■* Ganymede. 



laude ciet comitum famulumque evincta pudica 
fronde nianus, cui testa dies largoque refecti 555 

ture vaporatis lucent altaribus ignes. 

" Forsitan, o iuvenes, quae sint ea sacra quibusque 
praecipuum causis Phoebi obtestemur lionorem " 
rex ait, " exquirant animi. non inscia suasit 
relligio, niagnis exercita cladibus olim 560 

plebs Argiva litant ; animos advertite, pandam. 
postquam caerulei sinuosa volumina monstri, 
terrigenam Pythona deus septem orbibus atris 
amplexum Delphos squamisque annosa terentem 
robora, Castaliis dum fontibus ore trisulco 565 

fusus hiat nigro sitiens alimenta veneno, 
perculit, absumptis numerosa in vulnera telis, 
Cirrhaeique dedit centum per iugera campi 
vix tandem explicitum, nova deinde piacula caedis 
perquirens nostri tecta haud opulenta Crotopi 570 
attigit. huic primis et pubem ineuntibus annis 
mira decore pios^ servabat nata penates 
intemerata toris. felix, si Delia numquam 
furta nee occultum Phoebo sociasset amorem ! 
namque ut passa deum Nemeaei ad fluminis undam, 
bis quinos plena cum fronte resumeret orbes 576 

Cynthia, sidereum Latonae feta nepotem 
edidit ; ac poenae metuens — neque enim ille coactis 
donasset thalamis veniam pater — avia rura 
eligit ac natum saepta inter ovilia furtim 580 

montivago pecoris custodi mandat alendum. 
non tibi digna, puer, generis cunabula tanti 

^ pios BentJey : pio Pw. 

" From Cirrha, the port of Delphi ; so 1. 641. 

THEBAID, I. 554-582 

invoke with praise, garlanded with reverent myrtle, 
friend and thrall alike, about his altar ; for in his 
honour they make holiday, and the altars, refreshed 
by lavish incense, glow through wreaths of smoke. 

" Perchance ye may inquire, O youths," thus says 
the monarch, " what means this sacrifice, and for 
what reason we pay Phoebus signal honour. Urged 
by no ignorant fear, but under stress of dire calamity, 
the Argive folk aforetime made this offering. Lend 
me your hearing, and I will recount the tale. When 
that the god had smitten the dark and sinuous- 
coiling monster, the earth-born Pytho, who cast about 
Delphi his sevenfold grisly circles and with his scales 
ground the ancient oaks to powder, even while 
sprawling by Castalia's fountain he gaped with three- 
tongued mouth athirst to feed his deadly venom : 
when having spent his shafts on numberless wounds 
he left him, scarce fully stretched in death over a 
hundred acres of Cirx'haean " soil, then, seeking fresh 
expiation of the dead, he came to the humble 
dwelling of our king Crotopus. A daughter, in the 
first years of tender maidenhood, and wondrous fair, 
kept this pious home, a virgin chaste. How happy, 
had she ne'er kept secret tryst with the Delian, or 
shared a stolen love with Phoebus ! For she suffered 
the violence of the god by Nemea's stream, and 
when Cynthia had twice five times gathered her 
circle's visage to the full, she brought forth a child, 
Latona's grandson, bright as a star. Then fearing 
punishment — for her sire would ne'er have pardoned 
a forced wedlock — she chose the pathless wilds, and 
stealthily among the sheep-pens gave her child to a 
mountain-wandering guardian of the flock for nur- 
ture. No cradle worthy of a birth so noble, hapless 



gramineos dedit herba toros et vimine querno 
texta domus ; clausa arbutei sub cortice libri 
membra tepent, suadetque leves cava fistula somnos, 
et pecori commune solum, sed fata nee ilium 586 
concessere larem ; viridi nam caespite terrae 
proiectum temere et patulo caelum ore trahentem 
dira canum rabies, morsu depasta cruento, 
dissicit. hie vero attonitas ut nuntius aures 590 

matris adit, pulsi ex animo genitorque pudorque 
et metus : ipsa ultro saevis plangoribus amens 
tecta replet, vacuumque ferens velamine pectus 
occurrit confessa patri ; nee motus et atro 
imperat — infandum I^cupientem occumbere leto. 595 
sero memor thalami maestae solacia morti, 
Phoebe, paras monstrum infandis Acheronte sub imo 
conceptum Eumenidum thalamis, cui virginis ora 
pectoraque ; aeternum stridens a vertice surgit 
et ferrugineam frontem discriminat anguis. 600 

haec tum dira lues nocturno squalida passu 
inlabi thalamis, animasque a stirpe recentes 
abripere altricum gremiis morsuque cruento 
devesci et multum patrio pinguescere luctu. 
haud tulit armorum praestans animique^ Coroebus 605 
seque ultro lectis iuvenum, qui robore primi 
famam posthabita faciles extendere vita, 
obtulit. ilia novos ibat populata penates 
portarum in bivio — lateri duo corpora parvum 
dependent, et iam unca manus vitalibus haeret 610 
ferratique ungues tenero sub corde tepescunt — : 
obvius huic, latus omne virum stipante corona, 

^ animique Pco : animisque D. 

THEBAID, I. 583-612 

infant, did thy grassy bed afford thee, or thy woven 
home of oaken twigs ; enclosed in the fibre of arbutus- 
bark thy hmbs are warm, and a hollow pipe coaxes 
thee to gentle slumbers, while the flock shares thy 
sleeping-ground. But not even such a home did the 
fates permit, for, as he lay careless and drinking in 
the day with open mouth, fierce ravening dogs 
mangled the babe and took their fill with bloody 
jaws. But when the tidings reached the mother's 
horror-struck ears, father and shame and fear were 
all forgot ; herself straightway she fills the house 
with wild lamentation, all distraught, and baring her 
breast meets her father with her tale of grief. Nor 
is he moved, but bids her — Oh horrible ! — even as 
she desires, suffer grim death. Too late remember- 
ing thy union, O Phoebus, thou dost devise a solace 
for her miserable fate, a monster conceived 'neath 
lowest Acheron in the Furies' unhallowed lair : a 
maiden's face and bosom has she, from her head an 
ever-hissing snake rises erect, parting in twain her 
livid brow. Then that foul pest, gliding at night with) 
unseen movement into the chambers, tore from the\ 
breasts that suckled them lives newly-born, and with 
blood-stained fangs gorged and fattened on the 
country's grief. But Coroebus, foremost in prowess^ 
of arms and high courage, brooked it not, and with 
chosen youths, unsurpassed in valour and ready at 
life's hazard to enlarge their fame, went forth, a 
willing champion. From dwellings newly ravaged 
she was going, where in the gateway two roads meet, 
the corpses of two little ones hung at her side, and 
still her hooked talons claw their vitals and the iron 
nails are warm in their young hearts. Thronged by 
his band of heroes the youth rushed to the attack, 
VOL. I 2 c 385 


flt^ iuvenis, ferrumque ingens sub pectore duro 
condidit, atque imas animae mucrone corusco 
scrutatus latebras tandem sua monstra profundo 615 
reddit habere lovi. iuvat ire et %isere iuxta 
liventes in morte oeulos uterique nefandam 
prolu\dem et crasso squalentia pectora tabo, 
qua nostrae cecidere animae. stupet Inacha pubes, 
magnaque post lacrimas etiamnum gaudia pallent. 620 
hi trabibus duris, solacia vana dolori, 
proterere exanimos artus asprosque molares 
deculcare genis : nequit iram explere potestas. 
illam et nocturno circum stridore volantes 
impastae fugistis aves, rabidamque canum vim 625 
oraque sicca ferunt trepidorum inhiasse luporum. 
saevior in miseros fatis ultricis ademptae 
Dehus insurgit, summaque biverticis umbra 
Parnassi residens arcu crudehs iniquo 
pestifera arma iacit, camposque et celsa Cyclopum 630 
tecta superiecto nebularum incendit amictu. 
labuntur dulces animae, Mors fila Sororum 
ense metit captamque tenens fert manibus urbem. 
quaerenti, quae causa, duci, quis ab aethere laevus 
ignis et in totum regnaret Sirius annum, 635 

idem auctor Paean rursus iubet ire cruento 
inferias monstro iuvenes, qui caede potiti. 
fortunate animi longumque in saecula digne 
promeriture diem ! non tu pia degener arma 
occuhs aut certae trepidas occurrere morti. 640 

1 fit P : it w. 


THEBAID, I. 613-640 

and buried his broad blade in her cruel breast, and 
with flashing steel probing deep the spirit's lurking- 
place at length restored to nether Jove his monstrous 
offspring. What joy to go and see at close hand 
those eyes livid in death, the ghastly issue of her 
womb, and her breasts clotted with foul corruption, 
whereby our young lives perished ! Appalled stand 
the Inachian youth, and their gladness, though great 
now sorrow is ended, even yet is dim and pale. 
With sharp stakes they mangle the dead limbs — 
vain solace for their grief — and beat out the jagged 
grinding teeth from her jaws : they can — yet cannot 
glut their ire. Her did ye flee unfed, ye birds, 
wheeling round with nocturnal clamour, and ravening 
dogs, they say, and wolves gaped in terror upon her, 
dry-mouthed. But against the unhappy youths the 
Delian rises up fierce at the doom of his slain 
avengeress, and seated on the shady top of twin- 
peaked Parnassus with relentless bow he cruelly 
scatters shafts that bring pestilence, and withers 
beneath a misty shroud the fields and dwellings of 
the Cyclopes." Pleasant lives droop and fail. Death 
with his sword cuts through the Sisters' threads, and 
hurries the stricken city to the shades. Our leader 
then inquiring what the cause may be, what is this 
baleful fire from heaven, why Sirius reigns throughout 
the whole year, the word of the same god Paean 
brings command, to sacrifice to the blood-stained 
monster those youths that caused her death. O 
valour heaven-blest ! O worth that will merit a long 
age of fame ! No base craven thou to hide thy 
devoted deed, or shun in fear a certain death ! 

" i.e., Argos, which the Cyclopes were supposed originally 
to have built. 


ST ATI us 

comminus or a ferens Cirrhaei in limine templi 

constitit et sacras ita vocibus asperat iras : 

' non missus, Thymbraee, tuos siipplexve penates 

advenio : mea me pietas et conscia virtus 

has egere vias. ego sum, qui caede subegi, 645 

Phoebe, tuum mortale nefas, quern nubibus atris 

et squalente die, nigra quern tabe sinistri 

quaeris, inique, poh. quodsi monstra effera magnis 

cara adeo superis, iacturaque vilior orbi 649 

mors hominum et saevo tanta inclementia caelo est, 

quid meruere Argi ? me, me, divum optime, solum 

obiecisse caput fatis praestabat. an illud 

lene^ magis cordi, quod desolata domorum 

tecta vides, ignique datis cultoribus omnis 

lucet^ ager ? sed quid fando tua tela manusque 655 

demoror ? exspectant matres, supremaque fiunt 

vota mihi. satis est : merui, ne parcere velles. 

proinde move pharetras arcusque intende sonoros 

insignemque animam leto demitte ; sed ilium, 

pallidus Inachiis qui desuper imminet Argis, 660 

dum morior, dispelle globum.' 

Sors aequa merentes 

respicit. ardentem tenuit reverentia caedis 

Letoiden, tristemque viro submissus honorem 

largitur vitae ; nostro mala nubila caelo 

diffugiunt, at tu stupefacti a limine Phoebi 665 

exoratus abis. inde haec stata sacra quotannis 

sollemnes recolunt epulae, Phoebeaque placat 

^ lene Pw : laeve Gronovius : saeve Bentlei/ : an illud lene? 
^ lucet Poo : luget Heinsius. 


THEBAID, I. 641-667 

Unabashed he stood on the threshold of Cirrha's 
temple, and with these words gives fierce utterance 
to his sacred rage : ' Not sent by any, nor suppliant, 
O Thymbraean," do I approach thy shrine : duty and 
consciousness of right have turned my steps this 
way. I am he, O Phoebus, who laid low thy deadly 
scourge, I am he whom thou, ruthless one, dost seek 
out by poison-cloud, and the light of day defiled, and 
the black corruption of a baleful heaven. But even "' ''''^-; 
if raging monsters be so dear to the gods above, and ? vyi-^v^ 
the destruction of men a cheaper loss to the world, ^' 
and heaven be so stern and pitiless, in what have 
the Argives sinned ? My life, my life alone, most 
righteous of the gods, should be offered to the fates ! 
Or is it more soothing to thy heart that thou seest 
homesteads desolate, and the countryside lit up by 
the burning roofs of husbandmen ? But why by 
speaking do I delay the weapons of thy might ? our 
mothers are waiting, and the last prayers for me are 
being uttered. Enough : I have deserved that thou 
should'st be merciless. Bring then thy quiver, and 
stretch thy sounding bow, and send a noble soul to 
death ! but, even wliile I die, dispel the gathered 
mist tliat from on high hangs pallid over Inachian 

Equity hath regard for the deserving. Awe of 
slaughter took hold on Leto's fiery son, and yielding 
he grants the hero the sad boon of life ; the deadly 
clouds fly scattering from our heaven, while thou, 
thy prayer heard, departest from marvelling Phoebus' 
door. Thenceforward do we in solemn banquet 
yearly renew the appointed sacrifice, and placate the 

" A title of Apollo, from fiis shrine at Thj^mbra in the 
Troad, cf. 699. 



templa novatus honos. has forte invisitis aras 
vos quae progenies ? quamquam Calydonius Oeneus 
et Parthaoniae, si dudum certus ad aures 670 

clamor iit, tibi iura domus. tu pande, quis Argos 
advenias, quando hae variis sermonibus horae." 

Deiecit maestos extemplo Ismenius heros 
in terram vultus, taciteque ad Tydea laesum 
obliquare oculos ; turn longa silentia movit : 675 

" non super hos divum tibi sum quaerendus honores, 
unde genus, quae terra mihi, quis defluat ordo 
sanguinis antiqui : piget inter sacra fateri. 
sed si praecipitant miserum cognoscere curae, 
Cadmus origo patrum, tellus Mavortia Thebe, 680 
est genetrix locasta mihi." tum motus Adrastus 
hospitiis — agnovit enim : — " quid nota recondis ? 
scimus " ait, " nee sic aversum fama Mycenis 
volvit iter, regnum et furias oculosque pudentes 
novit et Arctois si quis de solibus horret 685 

quique bibit Gangen aut nigrum occasibus intrat 
Oceanum, et si quos incerto htore Syrtes 
destituunt. ne perge queri casusque priorum 
adnumerare tibi : nostro quoque sanguine multum 
erravit pietas, nee culpa nepotibus obstat. 690 

tu modo dissimilis rebus mereare secundis 
excusare tuos. et iam temone supino 
languet Hyperboreae glaciahs portitor Ursae. 
fundite vina focis, servatoremque parentum 
Letoiden votis iterumque iterumque canamus. 695 

" Parthaon was a king of Calydon, father of Oeneus. 

'' Theban, from the river Ismenus. 

" Statins has quaintly combined the two names of the 
constellation, the Bear and the Wain ; by the Hyperborean 
Bear he simply means the North, so that the phrase cor- 
responds to Spenser's " the Northern Waggoner." 


THEBAID, I. 668-695 

shrine of Phoebus in recurring festival. Of what 
stock come ye, whom chance has led to these our 
altars ? though, if but now my ears did rightly catch 
your outcry, Oeneus of Calydon is thy sire, and thine 
the lordship of Parthaonia's house.** But thou, do 
thou reveal who thou art that comest thus to Argos, 
since now the hour permits of varied discourse." 

Straightway did the Ismenian ^ hero bend his sad 
looks to earth, and cast at injured Tydeus a silent 
sidelong glance ; then after a long pause he spoke : 
" Not at these honours paid to heaven is it meet to 
ask me of my birth or land or ancient descent of 
blood ; hard is it to confess the truth amid the holy 
rites. But if your wish is urgent to know my un- 
happy tale, Cadmus was the ancestor of my sires, 
my land Mavortian Thebes, my mother is Jocasta." 
Then Adrastus, moved to friendly compassion — for 
he recognized him — said : " Why hide what all have 
heard ? this know we, nor doth Fame journey so 
distant from Mycenae. Yea, of that reign, and the 
madness, and the eyes that knew shame of their 
seeing, even he hath heard who shivers 'neath an 
Arctic sun, and he who drinks of Ganges, or sails 
into the Ocean darkening to the west, and they whom 
the shifting shoreline of the Syrtes fails. Cease to 
lament, or to recount the woes of thy fathers : in 
our house also hath there been many a fall from duty, 
but past error binds not posterity. Only do thou, 
unlike to them, win by fortune's favour this reward, 
to redeem thy kindred. And now the frosty wag- 
oner of the Hyperborean Bear " droops languidly, 
with backward slanting pole. Pour your wine upon 
the altar-hearths, and chant we our prayer, again and 
yet again, to Leto's son, the saviour of our fathers ! 


ST ATI us 

Phoebe parens, seu te Lyciae Patarea nivosis 
exercent dumeta iugis, seu rore pudico 
Castaliae flavos amor est tibi mergere crines, 
seu Troiam Thymbraeus habes, ubi fama volentem 
ingratis Phrygios umeris subiisse molares, 700 

seu iuvat Aegaeum feriens Latonius umbra 
Cynthus et adsiduam pelago non quaerere Delon : 
tela tibi longeque feros lentandus in hostes 
areus, et aetherii dono cessere parentes 
aeternum florere genas, tu doctus iniquas 705 

Parcarum praenosse manus fatumque quod ultrast 
et summo placitura lovi, quis letifer annus, 
bella quibus populis, quae mutent sceptra cometae, 
tu Phryga submittis citharae, tu matris honori 
terrigenam Tityon Stygiis extendis harenis ; 710 

te viridis Python Thebanaque mater ovantem 
horruit in pharetris, ultrix tibi torva Megaera 
ieiunum Phlegyan subter cava saxa iacentem 
aeterno premit accubitu dapibusque profanis 
instimulat, sed mixta famem fastidia vineunt : 715 
adsis, o memor hospitii, lunoniaque ai"va 
dexter ames, seu te roseum Titana vocari 
gentis Achaemeniae ritu, seu praestat Osirin 
frugiferum, seu Persei sub rupibus antri 
indignata sequi torquentem cornua Mithram." 720 

" i.e., hunting. * i.e., in building Troy. 

" The mountain in Delos. ^ INIarsyas. 

* Niobe, daughter of Cadmus. 

f A Lapith who had set fire to Apollo's temple. 

^ i.e., Argos. 

'' The reference is to the sun-worship of the Persians ; 
Mithras is frequently represented dragging a bull to be 
sacrificed. " Persean," from Perses, son of Perseus and 
Andromeda, founder of the Persian nation, cf. Hdt. vii. 61. 


THP:BAID, I. G9G-720 

Phoebus, Sire ! whether the copses of Patara and 
Lycia's snowy uplands keep thee busy," or thou 
dehghtest to bathe thy golden hair in Castalia's pure 
dew, or M'hether as Thymbra's lord thou dwellest in 
Troy, where they say thou didst willingly bear on 
thankless shoulders blocks of Phrygian stone, '' or 
whether Latonian Cynthus '^ pleases thee, casting his 
shadow on the Aegean wave, and Delos, settled sure 
in the deep, nor needing now thy search, — thine are 
the arrows and the bending of the bows against the 
savage enemy afar ; to thee did celestial parents 
grant thy cheeks' eternal bloom ; thou art skilled to 
foreknow Fate's cruel handiwork, and the destiny 
that lies beyond, and high Jove's pleasure, to what 
peoples pestilence cometh or wars, Avhat change of 
sceptres comets bring ; thou makest the Phrygian '^ 
subject to thy lyre, and for thy mother's honour 
dost stretch the earth-born Tityos on the Stygian 
sands ; thee the green Python and the Theban 
mother * horror-struck beheld triumphant with thy 
quiver, to avenge thee grim Megaera holds fast the 
starving Phlegyas,-'' who lies ever pressed beneath 
the cavernous rocks, and tortures him with the un- 
holy feast, but mingled loathing defeats his hunger : 
be thou present to our succour, mindful of our 
hospitality, and shed on the fields of Juno ^ the 
blessings of thy love, whether 'tis right to call thee 
rosy Titan, in the fashion of the Achaemenian 
race,'' or Osiris bringer of the harvest, or Mithras, 
that beneath the rocky Persean cave strains at the 
reluctant-following horns." 



Interea gelidis Maia satus aliger umbris 
iussa gerens magni remeat Io\is ; undique pigrae 
ire vetant nubes et turbidus impUcat aer, 
nee zephyri rapuere gradum, sed foeda silentis 
aura poll. Styx inde novem circumflua campis,i 5 
hinc obiecta vias torrentum incendia cludunt. 
pone senex trepida succedit Laius umbra 
vulnere tardus adhuc ; capulo nam largius illi 
transabiit animam^ cognatis ictibus ensis 
impius, et primas Furiarum pertulit iras ; 10 

it tamen et mediea firmat vestigia \arga. 
tum steriles luci possessaque manibus arva 
et ferrugineum nemus adstupet, ipsaque Tellus 
miratur patuisse retro, nee li\ida tabes 
invidiae functis quamquam et iam lumine cassis 15 
defuit. unus ibi ante alios, cui laeva voluntas 
semper et ad superos — hinc et gra\as exitus ae\i— 
insultare malis rebusque aegrescere laetis, 
" vade " ait, " o felix, quoscumque vocaris in usus, 
seu lovis imperio, seu maior adegit Erinys 20 

ire diem contra, seu te furiata sacerdos 
Thessalis arcano iubet emigrare sepulcro, 
heu dulces visure polos solemque reBctum 

^ campis Pw : ripis Bentley. 
^ animam P : costas w. 



Meanwhile the winged son of Maia returns from 
the cold shades, fulfilling the eri'and of great Jove ; 
on every side sluggish clouds hinder his way and 
misty air enfolds him, no Zephyrs wafted his course, 
but the foul vapours of the silent world. On this 
side Styx encircling its nine regions, on that a barrier 
of fiery torrents encloses his path. Behind him 
follows old Laius' trembhng shade, still halting from 
his wound ; for deeper than the hilt had his kins- 
man's impious swordthrust pierced into his hfe and 
sped the first blow of Avenging Wrath ; yet on he 
goes, strengthening his steps with the healing wand. 
Then barren woods and spirit-haunted fields and 
groves of lurid hue stand in amaze, and Earth herself 
marvels that the backward road lies open, nor even 
to the dead and those already bereft of light was 
lacking the livid blight of envy. One there, per- 
versely eager beyond the rest ever to revile the 
gods — thus indeed had he come by a grievous doom 
— and to repine at happiness, cries : " Good speed, 
thou lucky one, on what behest soever summoned, 
whether by Jove's command, or whether an over- 
mastering Fury drive thee to meet the day, or 
frenzied witch of Thessaly bid thee come forth from 
thy secret sepulchre : alas ! thou that wilt see the 
pleasant sky and the sunhght thou didst leave behind 



et virides terras et puros fontibus amnes, 

tristior has iterum tamen intrature tenebras." 25 

illos ut caeco recubans in limine sensit 

Cerberus atque omnes^ capitum subrexit hiatus 

saevus et intranti populo ; iam nigra tuniebat 

colla minax, iam sparsa solo turbaverat ossa, 

ni deus horrentem Lethaeo vimine mulcens 30 

ferrea tergemino domuisset lumina somno. 

Est locus — Inachiae dixerunt Taenara gentes — , 
qua formidatum Maleae spumantis in auras 
it caput et nullos admittit culmine \isus. 
stat sublimis apex ventosque imbresque serenus 35 
despicit et tantum fessis insiditur astris. 
illic exhausti posuere cubilia venti, 
fulminibusque iter est^ ; medium cava nubila mentis 
insumpsere latus, summos nee praepetis alae 
plausus adit colles, nee rauca tonitrua pulsant.^ 40 
ast ubi prona dies, longos super aequora fines 
exigit atque ingens medio natat umbra profundo. 
interiore sinu frangentia litora curvat 
Taenaros, expositos non audax scandere^ fluctus. 
illic Aegaeo Neptunus gurgite fessos 45 

in portum deducit equos, prior haurit harenas 
ungula, postremi solvuntur in aequora pisces. 
hoc, ut fama, loco pallentes devius umbras 
trames agit nigrique Io\is vacua atria ditat 
mortibus, Arcadii perhibent si vera coloni, 50 

^ atque omnes Pw : aeque Unger, alte Lachmann : angui- 
comus Koch. ^ iter est Pw : quies conj. Postgate. 

^ U. 37-40 omitted by Pw, though inserted in the margin by 
another hand in PBQ. Elsewhere in Statins tonitrus is 

* frangentia . . . scandere Pw : scandentia . . . frangere 
Koestlin (cf. Prop. iv. 1. 125): scindere Kohlnmnn (but of. 
Ach. i. 449). 


THEBAID, II. 24-50 

and the green earth and the pure river-springs, yet 
more sadly wilt return again to this darkness." 

Cerberus lying on the murky threshold perceived 
them, and reared up with all his mouths wide agape, 
fierce even to entering folk ; but now his black 
neck swelled up all threatening, now had he torn 
and scattered their bones upon the ground, had not 
the god with branch Lethaean soothed his bristling 
frame and quelled with threefold slumber the steely 

There is a place — named Taenarum by the Inachian 
folk — where foaming Malea's dreaded headland rises 
into the air, nor suffers any vision to reach its summit. 
Sublime stands the peak and looks down serene on 
winds and rain, and only to weary stars affords a 
resting-place. There tired winds find repose, and 
there the hghtnings have their path ; hollow clouds 
hold the mountain's midmost flanks, and never beat 
of soaring wing comes nigh the topmost ranges nor 
the hoarse clap of thunder. But when the day in- 
clines towards its setting, a vast shadow casts its 
fringes wide over the level waters, and floats upon 
mid-sea. Around an inner bay Taenaros curves his 
broken shore-line, not bold to breast the outer 
waves. There Neptune brings home to haven his 
coursers wearied by the Aegean flood ; in front their 
hooves paw the sand, behind, they end in fishy tails 
beneath the water. In this region, so 'tis said, a 
hidden path conducts the pallid ghosts, and dowers 
with many a death the spacious halls of swarthy 
Jove." If Arcadian husbandmen speak truth, shrieks 
" i.e., Pluto. 



stridor ibi et gemitus poenarum, atroque tumultu 
fervet ager ; saepe Eumenidum vocesque manusque 
in medium sonuere diem, Letique^ triformis 
ianitor agricolas campis auditus abegit. 

Hac et tunc fusca volucer deus obsitus umbra 55 
exsilit ad superos, infernaque nubila vultu 
discutit et vivis adflatibus ora serenat. 
inde per Arcturum mediaeque silentia Lunae 
arva super populosque meat. Sopor obvius illi 
Noctis agebat equos, trepidusque adsurgit honori 60 
numinis et recto decedit limite caeli. 
inferior volat umbra deo, praereptaque noscit 
sidera principiumque sui ; iamque ardua Cirrhae 
pollutamque suo despectat Phocida busto. 
ventum erat ad Thebas ; gemuit prope limina nati 65 
Laius et notos cunctatus inire penates. 
ut vero et celsis suamet^ iuga nixa columnis 
vidit et infectos etiamnum sanguine currus, 
paene retro turbatus abit : nee summa Tonantis 
iussa nee Arcadiae retinent spiramina virgae. 70 

Et tunc forte dies noto signata Tonantis 
fubnine, praerupti cum te, tener Euhie, partus 
transmisere patri. Tyriis ea causa colonis 
insomnem ludo certatim educere noctem 
suaserat ; efFusi passim per tecta, per agros, 75 

serta inter vacuosque mero crateras anhelum 
proflabant sub luce deum ; tunc plurima buxus 

^ Letique Pco : Lethesque Friesemann. 
^ suamet Pw : sedem et L. 

" Mercury was born in Arcadia. 

* Bacchus, untimely born from Semele who was blasted 
by the lightning of Jove, and lodged in his father's thigh 
till he was ripe for birth. 

" i.e., Thebans. 


THEBAID, II. 51-77 

are heard there and the moaning of the damned, 
and the land is all astir with hm-rying grisly forms ; 
often the cries and blows of the Furies have resounded 
till mid-day, and the baying of Death's tri-formed 
warder has scared the rustics from the fields. 

By this way then did the nimble god, all wrapped 
about with dusky shadow, leap forth to the upper 
world, and shake from his face the vapours of the 
nether region, and make serene his countenance with 
draughts of living air. Thence by Arcturus and the 
moon's mid silences o'er fields and cities he wends 
his way. Sleep, driving Night's coursers, met him, 
and rose abashed to salute his godhead, turning 
aside from his celestial path. Beneath the god flies 
the shade, and knows again his lost stars and the 
land that bore him ; and now he looks down on 
Cirrha's heights and Phocis, that his own corpse 
polluted. Now they were come to Thebes, and hard 
by his own son's threshold Laius groaned, tarrying 
to enter the well-known house. But when he saw 
his own yoke hanging on the lofty pillars and the 
chariot still stained with blood, almost had he in 
wild fear turned back and fled, nor could the 
Thunderer's high commands restrain him, nor the 
waving of the Arcadian '^ wand. 

That too chanced to be the day marked by the 
well-known falling of the Thunderer's brand, when 
thy birth's untimely hastening, O infant Euhius,'' 
caused thy sire to take thee to himself. Therein 
had the Tyrian settlers '^ found cause to pass the 
night in sleepless rivalry of sport ; scattered far and 
wide through house and field, amid garlands and 
mixing-bowls drained dry they panted forth the wine- 
god under the light of day ; then many a boxwood 


ST ATI us 

aeraque taurines sonitu vincentia pulsus.^ 
ipse etiam gaudens nemorosa per avia sanas 
impulerat matres Baccho meliore Cithaeron ; 80 

qualia per Rhodopen rabido convivia coetu 
Bistones aut mediae ponunt convallibus Ossae. 
illis semianinium pecus exeussaeque leonuni 
ore dapes, et lacte novo domuisse furorem^ 
luxus : at Ogygii si quando adflavit laechi 85 

saevus odor, tune saxa manu, tunc pocula pulchrum 
spargere et immerito sociorurn sanguine fuso 
instaurare diem festasque reponere mensasj 
Nox ea, cum tacita volucer Cyllenius aura 
regis Echionii stratis adlapsus, ubi ingens 90 

fuderat Assyriis exstructa tapetibus alto 
membra toro. pro gnara nihil mortalia fati 
corda sui ! capit ille dapes, habet ille soporem. 
tunc senior quae iussus agit, neu falsa videri 
noctis imago queat, longaevi vatis opacos 95 

Tiresiae vultus vocemque et vellera nota 
induitur. mansere comae propexaque mento 
canities pallorque suus, sed falsa cucurrit 
infula per crines, glaucaeque innexus olivae 
\ittarum pi'ovenit honos : dehinc tangere ramo 100 
pectora et has visus fatorum expromere voces : 
" non somni tibi tempus, iners, qui nocte sub alta, 
germani secure, iaces, ingentia dudum 
acta vocant rerumque graves, ignave, paratus. 
tu, veluti magnum si^ iam tollentibus austris 105 

^ taiirinos sonitu vincentia pulsus Pu> (ducentia X with 
vincentia icritten over) : Tyrrhenes sonitus vincentia pulsu 
Laclmumn. ^ furorem P : cruorem w. ^ si w : se P. 

" Thracians. * Eteocles. 

"^ Probably with reference to Sardanapalus (Assurbanipal), 
the Assyrian, proverbial for luxury (Juv. x. 362). 

THEBAID, II. 78-105 

pipe resounded and cymbals louder than the beat of 
bull-hide drum. Cithaeron himself exultant had set 
prudent matrons flocking in a nobler frenzy through 
his pathless groves : even as the Bistonians " in wild 
concourse hold their revels upon Rhodope or in the 
depths of Ossa's vales. For them one of the flock 
snatched half-alive from the lion's jaw is a feast, and 
to abate their fury with new milk is luxury ; but 
when the fierce fragrance of Ogygian lacchus breaths 
upon them, then how glorious to fling stones and 
goblets, and with the shedding of guiltless comrades' 
blood to begin the day anew and appoint once more 
the festal banquet ! 

Such was the night when the swift Cyllenian glided 
down on the silent air to the couch of the Echionian 
prince, '' where in huge bulk he had flung his limbs on 
a bed piled high with Assyrian '^ coverlets. Alas ! 
for mortal hearts that know not their destiny ! He 
feasts and he slumbers. Then the old man performs 
what he is bidden, and, lest he seem but a false 
phantom of the night, puts on the darkened visage 
of the ancient seer Tiresias, and his voice and well- 
known woollen bands. His own long hair and hoary 
beard combed downward from the chin remain, and 
his own pallid hue, but through his locks there runs 
the feigned circlet, and the sacred fillets entwined 
with the grey olive are plain to view. Then he 
seemed to touch his breast with the olive bough and 
give utterance to these fateful words : " This is no 
time of sleep for thee, thou sluggard, who liest 
careless of thy brother in the depth of night ! long 
time have great deeds summoned thee, slothful one, 
and weighty preparings for what shall be. But 
thou, even as if some ship's captain, while the south 

VOL. I 2d 401 

ST ATI us 

Ionium nigra iaceat sub nube magister 


(^^"5J^■ ' 


immemor armorum versantisque aequora clavi, 
cunctaris. iamque ille no vis — scit Fama — superbit 
conubiis viresque parat, quis regna capessat, 
quis neget, inque tua senium sibi destinat aula. 110 
dant animos socer augurio fatalis Adrastus 
dotalesque Argi, nee non in foedera vitae 
pollutus placuit fraterno sanguine Tydeus. 
hinc tumor, et longus fratri promitteris exsul, 
ipse deum genitor tibi me miseratus ab alto 115 

mittit : habe Thebas, caecumque cupidine regni 
ausurumque eadem germanum expelle, nee ultra 
fraternos inhiantem obitus sine fidere coeptis 
fraudibus aut Cadmo dominas inferre Mycenas." 

Dixit, et abscedens — etenim iam pallida turbant 120 
sidera lucis equi — ramos ac vellera fronti 
deripuit, confessus avum, dirique nepotis 
incubuit stratis, iugulum mox caede patentem 
nudat et undanti perfundit vulnere soninum. 
illi rupta quies, attolUt membra toroque 125 

eripitur^ plenus monstris, vanumque cruorem 
excutiens simul horret avum fratremque requirit. 
quaBs ubi audito venantum murmtire tigris 
horruit in maculas somnosque excussit inertes ; 
bella cupit laxatque genas et temperat ungues, 130 
mox ruit in turmas natisque alimenta cruentis 

^ eripitur P : erigitur w. 

THEBAID, II. 106-131 

winds are already raising the billows on the Ionian 
main, should He idle beneath a black storm-cloud, 
forgetful of his tackling and of the rudder that sways 
the waters, — thou tarriest. And he even now — so 
Fame can tell — waxes proud of his new wedlock, and 
gets to himself might whereby to seize the realm and 
refuse thee thy part, and appoints himself an old age 
in thy halls. Adrastus, foretold by omen to be the 
father of his bride, and the Argive dowry raise his 
spirits, yea, and Tydeus, stained by a brother's 
blood, hath he graciously received into a lifelong 
bond. Hence swelling pride, and a promise to thy 
brother of long exile for thee. The sire of gods 
himself in pity sends me down to thee from on high : 
hold fast to Thebes, and drive away thy kinsman who 
is blind with lust of rule, and will dare as much 
against thyself, nor suffer him all agape for a brother's 
death to trust any more in the treachery he devises, 
nor to bring Mycenae to queen it over Cadmus." 

He spoke, and departing — for already the sun's 
horses were driving in rout the pale stars- — tore from 
his head the chaplet and woollen bands, and revealed 
himself his grandsire, then leaning over his dread 
grandson's couch bared his throat's open wound and 
flooded his sleep with streaming blood. The other, 
startled from his slumbers, springs up and leaps from 
the couch, full of horror, and shaking from him the 
phantom blood shrinks appalled from his grandsire 
and seeks out his brother. Just as when a tigress 
hearing the noise of hunters has grimly faced the 
nets and shaken off lazy sleep ; 'tis war she yearns 
for, and she loosens her jaws and trims her talons, 
and soon she rushes amid the companies and carries 
off in her mouth a man still breathing, to feed her 


ST ATI us 

spirantem fert ore virum : sic excitus ira 
ductor in absentem consumit proelia fratrem. 

Et iam Mygdoniis elata cubilibus alto 
dispulerat^ caelo gelidas Aurora tenebras, 135 

rorantes excussa comas multumque sequenti 
sole rubens ; illi roseus per nubila seras 
advertit flanimas alienumque aethera tardo 
Lucifer exit equo, donee pater igneus orbem 
impleat atque ipsi radios vetet esse soi-ori : _140 

cum senior Talaionides nee longa morati 
Dircaeusque gradum pariterque Acheloius heros 
corripuere toris. illos post verbera fessos 
exceptamque hiemem cornu perfuderat omni 
Somnus ; at Inachio tenuis sub pectore regi 145 

tracta quies, dum mente deos inceptaque versat 
hospitia, et quae sint generis adscita repertis 
fata movet. postquam mediis in sedibus aulae 
congressi inque vicem dextras iunxere locumque, 
quo serere arcanas aptum atque evolvere curas, 150 
insidunt, prior his dubios compellat Adrastus : 
" egregii iuvenum, quos non sine numine regnis 
invexit nox dextra meis, quibus ipse per imbres 
fulminibus mixtos intempestumque Tonantem 
has mens usque domos vestigia fecit Apollo, 155 

non equidem obscurum vobis plebique Pelasgae 
esse rear, quantis conubia nostra procorum 
turba petant studiis ; geminae mihi namque, nepotum 
laeta fides, aequo pubescunt sidere natae. 
quantus honos quantusque pudor, ne credite patri, 160 

1 dispulerat Lachmann : impulerat Pj). 

° Tithonus, her husband, was son of Laomedon. king of 
Phrygia ; Mygdonia was a part of Phrygia. 

*" Adrastus was the son of Talaus ; Dirce was a fountain 
at Thebes, Achelous a river in Aetoha. 



savage whelps ; even so stirred by rage the chieftain 
dreams of war against his absent brother. 

And now Aurora rising from her Mygdonian * 
resting-place had scattered the cold shadows from the 
high heaven, and shaking the dew-drops from her 
hair blushed deep in the sun's pursuing beams ; 
toward her through the clouds the rosy morning-star 
turns his late fires, and with slow steed leaves an 
alien world, until the fiery father's orb be full re- 
plenished and he forbid his sister to usurp his rays. 
Then did the aged son of Talaus and with no long 
delay the heroes twain of Dirce and of Achelous ^ 
rise swiftly from their couches. Upon them, wearied 
by blows and endurance of the storm, had Sleep 
poured all his horn's bounty ; but scant repose 
visited the breast of the Inachian monarch, while in 
his thoughts he broods upon heaven's will and the 
new ties of friendship, and wonders what destinies 
he is admitting to his house in his new-found sons-in- 
law. They meet in the mid chambers of the palace, 
and draw nigh and grasp each other's hand in turn, 
then seat themselves where they may best make 
interchange of secret counsel, and, the others hesitat- 
ing, Adrastus thus begins : " Peerless youths, whom 
a propitious night has brought heaven-prompted to 
my realm, whose steps my own Apollo has guided 
even to my palace in spite of rain and lightning-flash 
and the Thunderer's unseasonable sky, I cannot 
deem it unknown to you and the Pelasgian folk, how 
zealous a crowd of suitors seeks alliance with my 
house ; for my two daughters, joyful pledge of 
grandchildren, are reaching equal years of full-grown 
maidenhood. How great their beauty and their 
modesty, trust not a father's word, nay, ye could 


ST ATI us 

et super hesternas licuit cognoscere mensas. 
has tumidi solio et late dominantibus armis 
optavere viri — longum enumerare Pheraeos 
Oebaliosque duces — ^et Achaea per oppida matres 
spem generis, nee plura tuus despexerat Oeneus 165 
foedera Pisaeisque socer metuendus habenis. 
sed mihi nee Sparta genitos nee ab Elide missos 
iungere fas generos : vobis hie sanguis et aulae 
cura meae longo pi'omittitur ordine fati. 
di bene, quod tales stirpemque animosque venitis, 170 
ut responsa iuvent : hie durae tempore noctis 
partus hones, haec ilia venit post verbera merces." 

Audierant, fixosque oculos per mutua paulum 
era tenent, visique inter sese ordine fandi 
cedere. sed cunctis Tydeus audentior actis 175 

incipit : " o quam te parcuni in praeconia famae 
mens agitat matura tuae, quantumque ferentem 
fortunam virtute domas ! cui cedat Adrastus 
imperiis ? quis te soho Sicyonis a\dtae 
excitum infrenos componere legibus Argos 180 

nesciat ? atque utinam his manibus permittere gentis, 
luppiter aeque, veHs, quas Doricus alligat intus^ 
Isthmos et alterno quas margine submovet infra ! 
non fugeret diras lux intercisa Mycenas, 
saeva nee Eleae gemerent certamina valles,^ 185 

Eumenidesque ahis ahae sub regibus, et quae 

^ intus P : undis w. 

^ After this line Duebner, Mueller, Kohlmann and Post- 
gate recognize a lacuna ; it seems sufficient to understand 
fuissent in 186. 

" i.e., Thessalian and Spartan, from N. and S. Greece. 
' Oenomaus, who challenged the suitors of Hippodamia 
to a chariot-race, and slew them when they lost. 

" See note on i. 325. "* See note oni'. 166. 

406 n 

THEBAID, 11. 161-186 

judge at yesterday's banquet. Many a one, with 
throne and wide-extending sway to boast of, has 
desired them — 'twere long to tell the tale of Pheraean 
and Oebalian princes " — and mothers also throughout 
the towns of Achaea, for hope of posterity ; nor did 
Oeneus thy own father despise more proffered unions, 
nor the sire of Pisa's bride with his terrible chariot- 
reins.'' But none of Spartan birth nor of them that 
liail from Ehs may I choose for my daughters' con- 
sorts : to you doth ancient destiny pledge my blood 
and the guardianship of my halls. The gods are 
gracious, in that ye come to me so high in birth and 
spirit that I rejoice in their oracles. This is the 
prize that the night's sufferings have won, tliis is 
your reward for the blows ye bore." 

They heard him, and for a while held their eyes 
fixed in mutual gaze, seeming to yield each other 
place of speech. But Tydeus, in every deed more 
daring, begins : " O how sparingly doth thy sage 
mind impel thee to proclaim thy own renown, 
and how greatly by worth dost thou outdo all 
fortune's favour ! To whom should Adrastus yield 
in power ? Who knows not that thou, when driven 
from thy ancestral Sicyon's throne, didst give law 
to turbulent Argos ? and would that thou wert 
willing, O just Jupiter, to entrust to these hands the 
races that Dorian Isthmus contains within the 
interior lands, and those which it removes beneath 
its other bound ! The interrupted light would not 
have fled from dire Mycenae,'^ nor would the vales 
of Elis have groaned at the fierce contests,** nor 
divers Furies afflicted divers kings, nor happened all 



tu potior, Thebane, queri : nos vero volentes 

expositique animis." sic interfatus et alter 

subicit : " anne aliquis soceros accedere tales 

abnuat ? exsulibus quaniquani patriaque fugatis 190 

nondum laeta Venus, tamen omnis corde resedit 

tristitia, adfixique animo cessere dolores. 

nee minus haec laeti trahimus solacia, quam si 

praecipiti convulsa noto prospectet amicam 

puppis humum. iuvat ingressos felicia regni 195 

omina, quod superest fati vitaeque laborum 

fortune: transire tu5." nee plura morati 

consurgunt, dictis impensius aggerat omne 

promissum Inachius pater, auxilioque futurum 

et patriis spondet reduces inducere regnisj 200 

Ergo alacres Argi, fuso rumor e per urbem 
advenisse duci generos primisque hymenaeis 
egregiam Argian nee formae laude secundam 
Deipylen tumida iam virginitate iugari, 
gaudia mente parant ; socias it Fama per urbes, 205 
finitimisque agitatur agris procul usque Lycaeos 
Partheniosque super saltus Ephyraeaque rura 
nee minus Ogygias eadem dea turbida Thebas 
insilit. haec totis perfundit moenia pinnis 
Labdaciumque ducem praemissae consona nocti 210 
territat ; hospitia et thalamos et foedera regni 
permixtumque genus — quae tanta licentia monstro, 
quis furor ? — et iam^ bella canit. 

^ furor ? et iam Lachmann : furor est iam Pw. 

" I understand "fuissent" with "Eumenides"and "quae," 


THEBAID, II. 187-213 

that thou, O Theban, canst best bewail." We verily 
are willing, and our hearts are open to thee." So 
spake he, and the other added : " Would any one 
refuse to welcome such a father of his bride ? Though 
Venus smile not yet upon us exiles, banished from 
our land, nevertheless all sorrows of our hearts are 
calmed, and the grief is gone that held fast upon our 
minds. No less joyfully do we take unto us this 
solace, than a ship rent by the tearing gale beholds 
the friendly shore. We delight to enter upon a 
reign of happy omen, and to pass, under thy destiny, 
what remains of our allotted lives and labours." 
Without more ado they i-ise, and the Inachian sire 
adds weight of eager words to every promise, and 
vows that he will succour them and bring them back 
to their fathers' realms. 

The Argives, therefore, as the report spreads 
through the city that husbands for his daughters 
have come to the king's court, and that illustrious 
Argia, and Deipyle famed no less for beauty, are 
giving in wedlock their lusty maidenhood, eagerly 
prepare for great rejoicing. Fame flies through the 
kindred cities, and is carried from lip to lip in the 
neighbouring lands even as far as the Lycaean and 
beyond Parthenian glades and the Ephyrean '' 
countryside, nor less does the same tumultuous 
goddess descend upon Ogygian Thebes. With wings 
full-stretched she broods over those walls, bringing 
terror that accords with the past night to the Lab- 
dacian chief : the welcome and the marriage does 
she relate, and the royal covenant and the union of 
houses — what mad licence in the devilish monster's 
tongue ! — and at last she tells of war. 

'' Ephyre was an old name of Corinth. 



Diffuderat Argos 
exspectata dies : laeto regalia coetu 
atria complentur, species est cernere avorum 215 

comminus et vivis certantia vultibus aera. 
tantum ausae perferre manus ! pater ipse bicornis 
in laevum prona nixus sedet Inaehus urna ; 
hunc tegit lasiusque senex placidusque Phoroneus, 
et bellator Abas^ indignatusque Tonantem 220 

Acrisius Inudoque ferens caput ense Coroebus, 
torvaque iam Danai facinus meditantis imago ; 
exin mille duces, foribus tum^ immissa superbis 
unda fremit volgi, procerum manus omnis et alto 
quis propior de rege gradus, stant ordine primi. 225 
interior sacris calet et sonat aula tumultu 
femineo ; casta matrem^ cinxere corona 
Argolides, pars virginibus circum undique fusae 
foedera conciliant nova solanturque timorem. 
ibant insignes vultuque habituque verendo 230 

Candida purpureum fusae super ora pudorem 
deiectaeque genas ; tacite subit ille supremus 
virginitatis amor, primaeque modestia culpae 
eonfundit vultus ; tunc ora rigantur honestis 
imbribus, et teneros lacrimae iuvere parentes. 235 
non secus ac supero pariter si cardine lapsae 
Pallas et asperior Phoebi soror, utraque telis, 
utraque torva genis flavoque in vertice nodo, 
ilia suas Cyntho comites agat, haec Aracyntho ; 
^ turn Baehrens : cum Pco. ^ matrem PKQ : matrum w. 

" Or perhaps, " had gladdened the Argives," by an 
extension of " animum diifundere," cf. Ov. A. A, i. 218 
" diifundetque animos omnibus ista dies." 

* Because Jupiter visited his daughter Danae in the 
brazen tower. For Coroebus see i. 605 sq. The " murder " 
was that of their husbands by the Danaides. 

THEBAID, II. 213-239 

The long-expected day had spread the Argives all 
abroad '^ : the royal halls are filled with joyous gather- 
ing, here may they look face to face upon their 
forefathers, and see bronzes that vie with the living 
countenance. So much hath skill dared and wrought ! 
Father Inachus himself, twin-horned, leans leftward 
upon his tilted urn ; old lasius supports him and calm 
Phoroneus and wari'ior Abas, and Acrisius angry with 
the Thunderer,'' and Coroebus bearing a head upon his 
naked sword, and the grim likeness of Danaus already 
meditating murder ; and many a prince thereafter. 
Then the common folk in clamorous flood are given 
entrance at the proud portals, while the whole com- 
pany of chiefs and all who in degree stand nigh the 
monarch's majesty take first place of rank. Within, 
the palace is all aglow with sacrificial fires, and loud 
with female tumult ; a chaste band of Argive women 
surrounds the mother-queen, others thronging about 
the maidens reconcile them to the new bonds and 
reassure their timorous hearts. They moved in 
splendour and majesty of look and dress, with eyes 
cast down and modest blush suifusing all their fair- 
ness ; that last regretful love of maidenhood steals 
silently into their hearts, and the first shame of guilt 
overwhelms their countenances ; then a generous 
rain bedews their cheeks, and tears bring joy to their 
tender-hearted parents. Just so might Pallas and 
Phoebus' sterner sister " glide down together from 
high heaven, terrible alike in armour and in looks, 
and with golden hair braided on their heads, bringing 
their maiden company, from Cynthus she and she 

* i.e., Diana, as the huntress ; " sterner," perhaps by com- 
parison with other daughters of Jove, e.g. Venus ; not witli 
Pallas, who is here the goddess of war, cf. 1. 243 (" cristas "). 



tunc, si fas oculis, non umquam longa tuendo 240 

expedias, cui maior honos, cui gratior, aut plus 
de love, mutatosque velint transumere cultus, 
et Pallas deceat pharetras et Delia cristas. 

Certant laetitia superosque in vota fatigant 
Inachidae, quae cuique domus sacrique facultas. 245 
hi fibris animaque litant, hi caespite nudo, 
nee minus auditi, si mens accepta, merentur^ 
ture deos, fractisque obtendunt limina silvis. 
ecce metu subito — Lachesis sic dura iubebat — 
impulsae mentes, excussaque gaudia patri, 250 

et turbat^ dies, innuptam limine^ adibant 
Pallada, Monychiis cui non Argiva per urbes 
posthabita est Larissa iugis ; hie more parentum 
lasides, thalamis ubi casta adolesceret aetas, 
virgineas libare comas primosque solebant 255 

excusare toros. celsam subeuntibus arcem 
in gradibus summi delapsus culmine templi, 
Arcados Euhippi spolium, cadit aereus orbis, 
praemissasque faces, festum nubentibus ignem, 
obruit, eque adytis simul exaudita remotis 260 

nondum ausos firmare gradum tuba terruit ingens. 
in regem conversi omnes formidine prima, 
mox audisse negant ; cunctos tamen omina rerum 
dira movent, variisque metum sermonibus augent. 
nee mirum : nam tum infaustos donante marito 265 

' merentur P : meretur w. 

* innuptam limine Pw : innupto in limine Garrod conj. 
and cp. V. 68 nupta limina. 

" Mountains in Delos and on the border of Attica 

' Possibly, as Klotz suggests, because those who were 
about to be brides were not allowed to enter the temple of 
" innupta Pallas." "= i.e., Athenian. 


THEBAID, II. 240-265 

from Aracynthus ** ; then wouldst thou never learn 
by long gazing, even had thine eyes leave to gaze, 
whicli had the greater beauty, which the greater 
charm, or which had more of Jove, and were they 
but pleased to take each other's dress, Pallas would 
beseem the quiver and Delia the crested helmet. 

The sons of Inachus contend in rivalry of joy, and 
weary the gods with vows, as each had household- 
gear and power of offering. These make supplica- 
tion with enti-ails and the victim's life, those with 
bare turf ; others, heard no less, if their heart be 
accepted, would fain win merit of the gods by in- 
cense, and shade their portals with the spoil of the 
woodlands. But lo ! a sudden fear — so cruel Lachesis 
commanded — strikes on their hearts and robs the 
sire of his rejoicing, and turns the day to gloom. 
On her threshold ** they were drawing nigh to Pallas 
the unwedded, who among cities prefers not the 
Munychian '^ hills to Argive Larissa ; here by an- 
cestral rite the daughters of lasus, so soon as their 
chaste yeai-s grew ripe for wedlock, were wont to 
make offering of virgin tresses, and pray pardon for 
the first marriage-bed. As they climb the steps and 
approach the lofty pile, there fell from the temple's 
highest summit a brazen shield, the spoil of Arcadian 
Euhippus, and overwhelmed the heralding torches, 
the festal light of the marriage train ; and while 
they dare not yet to make sure advance, a mighty 
trumpet-blare, heard from the shrine's inmost re- 
cesses, filled them with terror. All at the first shock 
of panic turned toward the king, then denied they 
had heard aught ; yet all are troubled by the event's 
dire omen, and increase their fear by various talk. 
Nor was it wonderful : for thou wast wearing, Argia, 



ornatus, Argia, geris dirumque monile 
Harmoniae. longa est series, sed^ nota malorum 
persequar, unde novis tarn saeva potentia donis. 

Lemnius haec, ut prisca fides, Mavortia longum 
furta dolens, capto postquam nil obstat amori 270 
poena nee ultrices castigavere catenae, 
Harmoniae dotale decus sub luce iugali 
struxerat. hoc, docti quamquam maiora, laborant 
Cyclopes, notique operum Telchines arnica 
certatim iuvere manu ; sed plurimus ipsi 275 

sudor, ibi arcano florentis igne zmaragdos 
cingit et infaustas percussum adamanta figuras 
Gorgoneosque orbes Siculaque incude relictos 
fulminis extremi cineres viridumque draconum 
lucentes a fronte iubas ; hie flebile germen 280 

Hesperidum et dirum Phrixei velleris aurum ; 
turn varias pestes raptumque interplicat atro 
Tisiphones de crine ducem, et quae pessima ceston 
\as probat ; haec circum spuniis lunaribus ungit 
callidus atque hilari perfundit cuncta veneno. 285. 
non hoc Pasithea blandarum prima sororum, 
non Decor Idaliusque puer, sed Luctus et Irae 

^ sed Pu) : et Baehrens, who with most edd. punctuates 
after malorum, whence Lachmann condemned 268. 

" Daughter of Venus and wife of Cadmus. 

'' Vulcan. The reference is to the famous bed which he 
contrived. It was fitted with chains which closed upon 
Venus and Mars as they lay together on the bed. (See 
Hom. Od. viii. 266 f.) Harmonia was the daughter of Venus 
and Mars. 

" Statius must mean amber, wept by the daughters of the 
sun when turned into poplars, but he calls them Hesperides 
(as being in the west) instead of Heliades. 

<* The girdle of Venus is spoken of as having power to 
instil desire; see Horn. II. xiv. 214. 


THEBAID, II. 266-287 

the ill-starred ornament of thy husband's giving, the 
dread necklace of Harmonia." Far back the story 
runs, but I will pursue the well-known tale of Moes, 
whence came it that a new gift had such terrible 

The Lemnian,^ so they of old believed, long time 
distressed at Mars' deceit and seeing that no punish- 
ment gave hindrance to the disclosed amour, and 
the avenging chains removed not the offence, Mrought 
this for Harmonia on her bridal day to be the glory 
of her dower. Thereat, though taught mightier 
tasks, the Cyclopes labour, and the Telchines famed 
for their handiwork helped in friendly rivalry of skill ; 
but for himself the sweat of toil was heaviest. There 
forms he a circlet of emeralds glowing with a hidden 
fire, and adamant stamped with figures of ill omen, 
and Gorgon eyes, and embers left on the Sicilian anvil 
from the last shaping of a thunderbolt, and the crests 
that shine on the heads of green serpents ; then 
the dolorous fruit of the Hesperides " and the dread 
gold of Phrixus' fleece ; then divers plagues doth he 
intertwine, and the king adder snatched from 
Tisiphone's grisly locks, and the wicked power that 
commends the girdle '^ ; all these he cunningly anoints 
about with lunar foam,^ and pours over them the 
poison of delight. Not Pasithea,^ eldest of the 
gracious sisters, nor Charm nor the Idalian youth did 
mould it, but Grief, and all the Passions, and Anguish, 

" For this cf. Val. Fl. Arg. vi. 447 ; Apuleius, Met. i. 3. It 
was supposed that witches could obtain foam or spume from 
the moon when they drew it down to earth, and so made 
their poisons more deadly. 

' The eldest of the Graces ; their names were more 
commonly said to be Aglaia, Euphrosyne, and Thalia. 


ST ATI us 

et Dolor et tota pi-essit Discordia dextra. 

prima fides operi, Cadmum comitata iacentem 

Harmonia versis in sibila dira querellis 290 

Illyricos longo sulcavit pectore campos. 

improba mox Semele vix dona nocentia coUo 

induit, et fallax intravit limina luno. 

teque etiam, infelix, perhibent, locasta, decorum 

possedisse nefas ; vultus hac laude^ colebas, 295 

heu quibus, heu placitura toris ! post longior ordo. 

tunc donis Argia nitet vilisque sororis 

ornatus sacro praeculta supervenit auro. 

\iderat hoc coniunx perituri vatis et aras 

ante omnis epulasque trucem secreta coquebat 300 

invidiam, saevis detur si quando potiri 

cultibus, heu nihil auguriis adiuta propinquis. 

quos optat gemitus, quantas cupit impia clades ! 

digna quidem, sed quid miseri decepta mariti 

arma, quid insontes nati meruere furores ?j 305 

Postquam regales epulas et gaudia vulgi 
bisseni clusere dies. Ismenius heros 
respicere ad Thebas iamque et sua quaerere regna. 
quippe animum subit ilia dies, qua, sorte benigna 
fratris, Echionia steterat privatus in aula, 310 

respiciens descisse^ deos trepidoque tumultu 
dilapsos comites, nudum latus omne fugamque 

^ laude Pw : fraude Garrod, luce Baehrens. 
^ descisse <j : discisse P {ci from ce, i.e. 

" According to the legend. Harmonia and Cadmus her 
husband were turned into serpents, and ended their lives in 

* Juno persuaded Semele to ask her lover Jupiter to 
reveal himself to her as Wielder of the Lightning ; he did 
so, and Semele was blasted by the stroke, and died giving 
birth to Bacchus. 

" Eriphyle, wife of Amphiaraus, in exchange for the neck- 


THEBAID, II. 288-312 

and Discord, with all the craft of her riglit liand. 
The work first proved its worth, when Harmonia's 
complaints turned to dreadful hissing, and she bore 
company to grovelling Cadmus, and with long trail- 
ing breast drew furrows in the Illyrian fields.** Next, 
scarce had shameless Semele put the hurtful gift 
about her neck, when lying Juno crossed her thresh- 
old.** Thou too, unhappy Jocasta, didst, as they 
say, possess the beauteous, baleful thing, and didst 
deck thy countenance with its praise— on what a 
couch, alas ! to find favour ; and many more beside. 
Last Argia shines in the splendour of the gift, and 
in pride of ornament and accursed gold surpassed 
her sister's mean attiring. The wife of the doomed 
prophet '^ had beheld it, and at every shrine and 
banquet in secret cherished fierce jealousy, if only it 
might ever be granted her to possess the terrible j ewel, 
nought profited, alas ! by omens near at hand. 
What bitter tears she doth desire ! to what ruin 
tend her impious wishes ! Worthy is she, indeed, 
but what hatli her hapless consort deserved, and his 
deluded arms ? And what the guiltless frenzy of her 


When twice six days had ended the regal banquet- 
ing and the rejoicing of the people, the Ismenian 
hero turned his gaze toward Thebes, and would fain 
now be seeking his kingdom. For he recalls that 
day, when by the hazard that favoured his brother 
he stood in Echion's palace stripped of power, and 
saw his cause deserted by the gods and his friends 
all slunk away in hurry and alarm, himself defence- 
lace persuaded her husband to go to the war, where he met 
his death. Her son Alcmaeon is said to have slain his 
mother in revenge (305). 

VOL. I 2 E 417 

ST ATI us 

fortunae. namque una soror producere tristis 
exsulis ausa vias ; etiam hanc in limine primo 
liquerat et magna lacrimas incluserat ira. 315 

tunc quos excedens hilares, quis cultus iniqui 
praecipuus ducis, et profugo quos ipse notarat 
ingemuisse sibi, per noctem ac luce sub omni 
digerit ; exedere animum dolor iraque demens 
et, qua non gravior mortalibus addita curis, 320 

spes, ubi longa venit. talem sub pectore nubem - 
consilii volvens Dircen Cadmique negatas 
adparat ire domos. veluti dux taurus amata 
valle carens, pulsum solito quem gramine victor 
iussit ab erepta longe mugire iuvenca, 325 

cum profugo placuere tori cervixque recepto 
sanguine magna redit fractaeque in pectora quercus,^ 
bella cupit pastusque et capta armenta reposcit 
iam pede, iam cornu melior — pavet ipse reversum 
victor, et attoniti vix agnovere magistri — : 330 

non alias tacita iuvenis Teumesius iras 
mente acuit. sed fida vias arcanaque coniunx 
senserat ; utque toris primo complexa iacebat 
aurorae pallore virum, " quos, callide, motus 
quamve fugam moliris ? " ait " nil transit amantes. 335 
sentio, pervigiles acuunt suspiria questus, 
numquam in pace sopor, quotiens haec ora natare 
fletibus et magnas latrantia^ pectora curas 

* in pectora quercus PB {with vires written over) : in 
pectore w, vires I)KS, vires Q {witit quercus written over). 
^ latrantia PBJV : iactantia w. 


THEBAID, 11. 313-338 

less on every side and all his fortune fled. I'or but 
one sister had dared to escort the exile on his sad 
path ; from her even had he parted, his journey 
scarce begun, and in deep anger repressed his tearful 
grief. Then nightly and day by day does he recount 
in order those whose joy he marked as he went forth, 
those who were foremost in flattery of the unjust 
prince, or whom he had himself seen to bewail his 
exile ; anguish devours his mind, and furious wrath, 
and hope, than which the heart can bear no heavier 
burden, when 'tis long deferred. Brooding thus in 
iiis mind upon a cloud of care, he makes ready to 
set out for Dirce and the Cadmean home denied 
liim. Even as a chieftain bull, banished from his 
loved valley, whom a conqueror has driven from his 
wonted meadow and bidden low far parted from his 
stolen love, yet anon in exile takes pleasure in his 
mighty thews, and his neck fresh-blooded waxes 
strong again, and he bethinks him of the oaks that 
he has shattered, and eager for battle demands back 
the pastures and the captive herds ; already in 
speed of foot and power of horn hath he the mastery, 
his conqueror himself is dismayed at his return, and 
the astonished herdsmen scarce know him for the 
same : not otherwise does the Teumesian youth 
sharpen his wrath in brooding silence. But his faith- 
ful wife had marked his secret yearning to be gone, 
and lying on the couch in the first pale light of dawn, 
her arms about her lord, " What thoughts of flight," 
she said, " are these thou ponderest ? nought escapes 
a lover's eye. I know thy wakeful complainings and 
thy bitter sighs, thy ever-troubled slumber. How 
often touching thee with my hand do I find this face 
all wet with tears, and thy breast loud groaning with 


ST ATI us 

admota deprendo manu ? nil foedere rupto 
conubiisve super moveor viduaque iuventa, 340 

etsi crudus amor necdum post flammea toti 
intepuere tori : tua me, properabo fateri, 
angit,^ amate,^ salus. tune incomitatus, inermis 
regna petes poterisque tuis decedere Thebis, 
si neget ? atque ilium sollers deprendere semper 345 
fama duces tumidum narrat raptoque superbum 
difficilemque tibi : necdum consumpserat^ annum, 
me quoque nunc vates, nunc exta minantia divos 
aut avium lapsus aut turbida noctis imago 349 

terret; et a ! memini, numquam mihi falsa per umbras 
luno venit. quo tendis iter ? ni conscius ardor 
ducit et ad Thebas melior socer." hie breve tandem 
risit Echionius iuvenis tenerumque dolorem 
coniugis amplexu solatus et oscula maestis 
tempestiva genis posuit lacrimasque repressit ; 355 
" solve metus animo, dabitur, mihi crede, merentum 
consiliis tranquilla dies ; te fortior annis 
nondum cura decet. sciat haec Saturnius olim 
fata parens, oculosque polo demittere si quos 
lustitia et rectum terris defendere curat : 360 

fors aderit lux ilia tibi, qua moenia cernes 
coniugis et geminas ibis regina per urbes." 
Sic ait, et caro raptim se limine profert. 
Tydea iam socium coeptis, iam pectore fido 

^ angit Po) : tangit Bentley. ^ amate KC : amata Pu. 

* consumpserat Pw : consumpserit Heinsius. 

" i.e., when you fled from Thebes ; he will be all the 
fiercer when his year is over. The old emendation con- 
snmpserit (" nor will he have reigned ") misses the point. 


THEBAID, II. 339-364 

thy weight of cares ! 'Tis not the sundering of 
our marriage-bond that moves me, nor a widowed 
youth ; although our love is still fresh, nor has our 
couch yet since tlie bridal lost the first glow of 
passion. 'Tis thy own safety, O beloved — I hasten 
to confess it — that wrings my heart. Wilt thou seek 
thy realm unarmed, unfriended, and be able to quit 
thine own Thebes, should he refuse it ? Yea, Report, 
that is ever cunning to catch the mind of princes, 
tells that he is proud and arrogant in his stolen 
power, and ill-disposed to hear thee ; nor had he 
yet reigned a full year.* Terrified too am I now by 
soothsayers, now by entrails that speak of threaten- 
ing gods, by flight of birds, or by disturbing visions 
of the night ; and ah ! never do I call to mind that 
Juno came falsely to me in my dreams. Whither 
doth thy journey lead thee ? except it be a secretly 
cherished passion that draws thee to Thebes, and union 
withanobler house." Tlienat last theEchionianyoutli 
brief-laughing consoled his wife's tender grief, and 
set timely kisses on her sorrowful cheeks and stayed 
her tears : " Free thy mind of fear ; prudent coun- 
sels, believe me, win peaceful days ; cares beyond 
thy years become thee not. But should one day the 
Saturnian father take knowledge of my fate, and 
Justice, if she think at all to glance down from 
heaven and defend the right on earth : then per- 
chance that day shall dawn for thee, when thou shalt 
see thy husband's walls, and go in queenly pomp 
through two cities." 

So saying he hurried forth from the chamber that 
he loved, and sadly accosts Tydeus, already the 
partner of his enterprise, already sharing his troubles 

/ 421 


aequantem curas — taiitus post iiirgia mentes 365 

vinxit amor — socerumque adfatur tristis Adrastum. 
fit mora consilio, cum multa moventibus una 
iam potior cunctis sedit sententia, fratris 
pertemptare fidem tutosque in regna precando 
explorare aditus. audax ea munera Tydeus 370 

sponte subit : nee non et te, fortissime gentis 
Aetolum, multum lacrimis conata morari 
Deipyle, sed iussa patris tutique regressus 
legato iustaeque pi'eces vicere sororis. 

lamque emensus iter silvis ac litore durum, 37.") 
qua Lernaea palus ambustaque sontibus alte 
intepet hydra vadis, et qua vix carmine raro 
longa sonat Nemee nondum pastoribus ausis, 
qua latus Eoos Ephyres quod vergit ad euros 
Sisyphiique sedent portus irataque terrae 380 

curva Palaemonio secluditur unda Lechaeo.^ 
hinc praetervectus Nisum et te, mitis Eleusin, 
laevus abit,^ iamque arva gi'adu Teumesia et arces 
intrat Agenoreas ; ibi durum Eteoclea cernit 
sublimem solio saeptumque horrentibus armis. 385 
iura ferus populo trans legem ac tempora regni 
iam fratris de parte dabat ; sedet omne paratus 
in facinus queriturque fidem tam sero reposci. 

Constitit in mediis — ramus manifestat olivae 
legatum — causasque viae nomenque rogatus 390 

^ Lechaeo PDX : liceo w ; cf. Silv. ii. 2. 35. 
^ abit PB : habet (i over e) Q : habet w. 

" i.e., after the slaughter of the Xemean Hon. 

" Lechaeum was the port of Corinth (EphjTe), where 
Sisvphus had been king. For the reverse journey cf. 
i. 312 sq. 

THEBAID, II. 365-390 

witli faithful heart — so strung the bund uf luve that 
united them after their quarrel — and Adrastus, father 
of his spouse. Long time do they hold counsel, 
when after pondering many a scheme one plan at 
last finds preference with all, to make trial of his 
brother's constancy and seek by humble request a 
safe return to the realm. Bold Tydeus volunteers the 
mission ; yea, and thee too, bravest of the Aetolian 
race, would Deipyle fain stay by many a tear, but 
her father's command and the assurance of an envoy's 
safe return and her sister's just entreaties make her 

And now he had accomplished the full measure of 
a journey made rough by forests and seashore : 
where lay the marsh of Lerna and the burnt Hydra's 
heat makes warm the depths of those unrighteous 
waters, and where through the length of Nemea 
scarce is heard the scanty song of the yet timid 
shepherds" : where Ephyre's eastern side slopes to 
the Avinds of Orient and the Sisyphian havens lie, 
and the wave that vents its wrath upon the land lies 
in the cui-ved retreat of Lechaeum sacred to Palae- 
mon.* Thence passes he by Nisus, leaving thee, 
kindly Eleusis, on his left hand, and at last treads the 
Teumesian fields and enters the Agenorean towers. 
There he beholds the cruel Eteocles high upon a 
throne and girt round with bristling spears. The 
appointed season of his reign already past, he was 
holding the folk under savage governance in his 
brother's stead ; prepared for every crime he sits, 
and complains of so late a claiming of his promise. 

Standing in the midst — the branch of olive pro- 
claims him ambassador — when asked his name he 
declared it and the purpose of his coming ; then, rude 



edidit ; utqiie vudis fandi pronusque calori 
semper erat, iustis miscens tamen aspera coepit : 
" si tibi plana fides et dicti cura manei-et 
foederis, ad fratrem complete iustius anno 
legatos hinc ire fuit teque ordine certo 395 

fortunam exuere et laetum descendere regno, 
ut vagus ille diu passusque baud digna per urbes 
ignotas pactae tandem succederet aulae. 
sed quia dulcis amor regni blandumque potestas, 
posceris : astriferum iam velox eirculus orbem 400 
. torsit et amissae redierunt montibus umbrae, 
•>*^ ex quo frater inops ignota per oppida tristes 
exsul agit casus ; et te iam tempus aperto 
sub love ferre dies terrenaque frigora membris 
ducere et externos submissum ambire penates. 405 
pone modum laetis ; satis ostro dives et auro 
conspicuus tenuem germani pauperis annum 
risisti ; moneo, regnorum gaudia temet 
dedoceas patiensque fugae mereare reverti." 

Dixerat. ast illi tacito sub pectore dudum 410 
ignea corda fremunt, iacto velut aspera saxo 
comminus erigitur serpens, cui subter inanes 
longa sitis latebras totumque agitata per artus 
convocat in fauces et squamea coUa venenum : 
" cognita si dubiis fratris mihi iurgia signis 415 

ante forent nee clara odiorum arcana paterent, 
sufficeret vel sola fides, qua^ torvus et^ ilium 
mente gerens,^ ceu saepta novus iam moenia laxet 

^ qua Klotz : quam Pw : quod Postgate. 

* torvus et w : servo sed P. 

* gerens Puj : geris DN. 

" i.e., the shade of the leaves which have fallen and grown 

THEBAID, II. 391-418 

of speecli as ever and quick to anger, and with mixture 
of harsli words, altliough his plea was just, he thus 
began : " Hadst thou simple honesty left thee and 
regard for a sworn bond, 'twere more right that 
envoys should go hence to thy brother, now thy 
year is finished, and that thou in due course shouldst 
put off thy state and contentedly leave thy throne, 
so that he, after long wanderings and unseemly hard- 
ships in many a strange city, should at length succeed 
to the promised kingdom. But since thy darling 
passion is to reign, and power exerts its flattering 
charm, we summon tliee ; already hath the swift 
circle brought round the starry globe, and the 
mountains have regained the shadows that they lost," 
since thy brother hath suffered the unhappy lot of 
poverty and exile in unknown cities ; now is it time 
thou too didst spend thy days under Jove's open sky, 
and let earth's coldness freeze thy limbs, and pay 
submissive court at the hearths of strangers. Set a 
term to thy prosperity ; long enough in rich pomp 
of gold and purple hast thou mocked at thy brother's 
year of mean poverty ; I warn thee, unlearn of thine 
own will the joys of ruling, and in patient exile merit 
thy return." 

He ended, but the other's fiery heart rages beneath 
his silent breast, as when a serpent angered by a 
flung stone darts up close at hand, whose limbs long 
thirst has racked, down in its hollow lair, and gathered 
all the venom to its throat and scaly neck. " Had 
they been doubtful signs that forewarned me of my 
brother's quarrel, did not his secret hate shine clear 
as day to me, that bold assurance alone would 
suffice, whereby you, in mind his very pattern, thus 
prelude his fury, as though already a new train of 



fossoi* et liostiles ininiicent olassica turmas, 
praefui'is. in medios si coniminus orsa tulisses 420 
Bistonas aut refuge pallentes sole Gelonos, 
parcior eloquio et niedii reverentior aequi 
inciperes. neque te furibundae crimine mentis 
arguerim : mandata refers, nunc omnia quando 
plena minis, nee sceptra fide nee pace sequestra 425 
poscitis, et propior capulo manus, haec mea regi 
Argolico, nondum aequa tuis, vice dicta reporta : 
quae sors iusta mihi, quae non indebitus annis 
sceptra dicavit lionos, teneo longumque tenebo. 
te penes Inachiae dotalis regia dono 430 

coniugis, et Danaae — ^quid enim maioribus actis^ 
invideam ? — cumulentur opes, felicibus Argos 
auspiciis Lernamque regas ; nos horrida Dirces 
pascua et Euboicis artatas fluctibus oras, 
non indignati miserum dixisse parentem 435 

Oedipoden : tibi larga — Pelops et Tantalus auctor ! — ■ 
nobilitas, propiorque fluat de sanguine iuncto 
luppiter. anne fei-et luxu consueta paterno 
hunc regina larem ? nostrae cui iure sorores 
anxia pensa trahant, longo quam sordida luctu 440 
mater et ex imis auditus forte tenebris 
ofFendat sacer ille senex ! iam pectora volgi 
adsuevere iugo : pudet heu ! plebisque patrumque, 
ne totiens incerta ferant mutentque gementes 

^ actis Pcj : aulis Madvig. 

" The Argive house was more directly descended from 
Jove than that of Oedipus. 


THEBAID, II. 419-444= 

sappers were breaching our fenced walls, and the 
trumpets were kindling the hostile bands to fierce- 
ness. Even if thuu hadst been speaking to Bis- 
tonians face-to-face in their midst, or to the pale 
Geloni, on wlioni the sun shines not, thou wouldst 
have been more sparing of thy eloquence, and more 
observant of what is fair and just, in opening thy 
cause. Nor would I accuse thee of this madness : 
thou speakest but at command. Now, therefore, 
since all your words are threats, and ye demand the 
sceptre with warrant neither of trust nor peace, and 
your hands are ever on the sword-hilt, carry back in 
turn this message of mine, far short of thine as yet, 
t(j the Ai'golic prince : The fortune that is my right, 
the sceptre that due privilege of years hath assigned 
me, I hold, and Avill hold long. Keep thou thy royal 
dower, the gift of thy Inachian consort, pile up thy 
Danaan treasure — for why should I envy thee those 
nobler deeds ? — rule Argos and Lerna under happy 
auspices ! Be it mine to hold the rough pastures of 
Dirce, and the shores narrowed by the Euboean 
waves, nor think it shame to call unhappy Oedipus 
my sire ! Let ancestral splendour be thy boast — 
scion of Pelops and Tantalus ! — and by a nearer 
channel of descent unite Jove's blood with thine." 
Will thy queen, accustomed to her father's luxury, 
endure this simple home ? rightly would my sisters 
perform their anxious tasks for her, my mother, 
unsightly from long mourning, and that accursed 
dotard, heard clamouring pei'chance from his dark 
seclusion, would give her oflTence ! The people's 
minds are already accustomed to my yoke ; I am 
ashamed, alas ! for the folk and elders alike, lest 
they should suffer so oft the uncertainty of fortune 



imperia et dubio pigeat parere tyranno. 445 

non parcit populis regnum breve ; respice, quantus 
horror et attoniti nostro in discrimine cives ! 
hosne ego, quis certa est sub te duce poena, relin- 

quam ? 
iratus, germane, venis. fac velle : nee ipsi, 
si modo notus amor meritique est gratia, patres 450 
reddere regna sinent." non ultra passus et orsa 
iniecit mediis sermonibus obvia : " reddes," 
ingeminat, " reddes ; non si te ferreus agger 
ambiat aut triplices alio tibi carmine muros 
Amphion auditus agat, nil tela nee ignes 455 

obstiterint, quin ausa luas nostrisque sub armis 
captivo moribundus humum diademate pulses, 
tu merito ; ast horum miseret, quos sanguine viles 
coniugibus natisque infanda ad proelia raptos 
proicis excidio, bone rex. o quanta Cithaeron 460 
funera sanguineusque vadis, Ismene, rotabis ! 
haec pietas, haec magna fides ! nee crimina gentis 
mira equidem duco : sic primus sanguinis auctor 
incestique patrum thalami ; sed fallit origo : 
Oedipodis^ tu solus eras,^ haec praemia morum 465 
ac sceleris, violente, feres ! nos poscimus annum ; 
sed moror." haec audax etiamnum in limine retro^ 
vociferans iam tunc impulsa per agmina praeceps 
evolat. Oeneae vindex sic ille Dianae 
erectus saetis et aduncae fulmine malae, 470 

^ Oedipodis Jortin : Oedipodes Poj. 
^ eras P : eris Deipser. ' retro w : regis P. 

" The Calydonian boar, who avenged the neglected wor- 
ship of Diana. 


THEBAID, II. 445-470 

and the distressful change of rulers, and unwillingly 
obey a doubtful throne. Unsparing to a people is a 
short reign ; turn and behold the dismay and horror 
of my citizens at my danger ! Shall I abandon these, 
whom under thy sway sure punishment awaits ? 
'Tis in anger, O kinsman, that thou comest. Or 
suppose me willing : the fathers themselves will not 
suffer me to render up the crown, if I but know 
their love and there is gratitude for all my bounty." 
No more endured he, but even in mid-speech flung 
at him this retort : " Thou shalt restore," he cries, 
and again, " Thou shalt restore ! Nay, should an 
iron rampart fence thee, or Amphion with the strains 
of another song draw about thee a triple wall, in no 
wise shall fire or sword defend thee from paying for 
tliy bold deed, and, ere thou die, beating thj' captive 
diadem on the ground beneath our arms. Such a 
fate wilt thou deserve ; those do I pity, whose cheap 
lives thou dost seize and hurl to death in horrid 
butchery, worthy king, and their wives and babes 
withal. What carnage shalt thou see, Cithaeron, 
and thou, Ismenus, roll down upon thy blood-stained 
waters ! This then is loyalty, and this thy trusted 
word ! Nor marvel I at the crimes of your race ; 
such was the first author of your blood, such your 
incestuous sires ; but there is a flaw in your parent- 
age, thou only art the son of Oedipus, and this, O 
man of violence, shall be the reward of thy sin and 
crime ! We claim our year ! But I waste words — " 
Boldly thus he shouted back while still in the door- 
way, then dashed out headlong through their dis- 
ordered ranks. Even so the famous champion of 
Oenean Diana," with bristles stiff and lightning stroke 
of tusked jaw, liard pressed though lie be by the 



cum premeret Pelopea phalanx, saxa obvia volvens 
fractaque perfossis arbusta Acheloia ripis, 
iam Telamona solo, iam stratum Ixiona linquens 
te, Meleagre, subit : ibi^ demum cuspide lata 
haesit et obnixo ferrum laxavit^ in armo. 475 

talis adhuc trepidum linquit Calydonius heros 
concilium infrendens, ipsi ceu regna negentur, 
festinatque vias ramumque precantis olivae 
abicit. attonitae tectorum e limine summo 
aspectant matres, saevoque infanda precantui* 480 
Oenidae tacitoque simul sub pectore regi. 

Nee piger ingenio scelerum fraudisque nefandae 
rector eget. iuvenum fidos, lectissima bello 
corpora, nunc pretio, nunc ille hortantibus ardens 
sollicitat dictis, nocturnaque proelia saevus 485 

instruit, et sanctum populis per saecula nomen 
legatum insidiis tacitoque invadere ferro — 
quid regnis non vile ? — cupit. quas quaereret artes, 
si fratrem, Fortuna, dares ! o caeca nocentum 
consilia ! o semper timidum scelus ! exit in unum 490 
plebs ferro iurata caput ; ceu castra subire 
apparet aut celsum crebri arietis ictibus^ urbis 
inclinare latus : densi sic agmine facto 
quinquaginta altis funduntur in ordine portis. 
macte animi, tantis dignus qui crederis armisjy 495 

Fert via per dumos propior, qua calle latenti 
praecelerant densaeque legunt compendia silvae. 

^ ibi oj : tibi P. - laxavit P : lassavit Madvig. 

* crebri arietis ictibus Unger : crebris arietibus Pw. 

THEBAID, II. 47l-i07 

Argive band, that rolls down stones upon him and 
boughs of trees uprooted from Achelous' banks, 
yet leaves now Telamon, now Ixion prostrate on the 
ground, and attacks thee, Meleager ; there at last 
was he stayed upon the spear-thrust, and relaxed the 
weapon's force in his fierce-struggling shoulder. 
Such was the Calydonian hero, as he left the yet 
timorous council, wdth savage threats, as though 
'twere he who was denied the kingdom ; he hastes 
away, hurling from him the branch of ohve. The 
mothers in amazement watch him from their 
thresholds' edge, and utter curses on the fierce son 
of Oeneus, and withal in their secret hearts upon 
the king. 

But the monarch is not slothful, nor lacks cunning 
resource of crime and fraud unspeakable. A faithful 
company of chosen warriors he urges now by bribes, 
now by ardour of persuasive words, and fiercely plots 
a nocturnal affray, and would fain attack the ambas- 
sador — a name reverenced by peoples through the 
ages — by treachery and the silent-lurking sword. 
What is there that kings hold not vile .'' What 
cunning would he devise, were it his brother thou 
didst place in his power, O Fortune ! O blind and 
guilty counsels ! O ever timorous crime ! A sworn 
band of soldiery go out against one single life, as 
though they made ready to storm a camp or level a 
city's lofty side Avith the ram's battering blows ; 
fifty thus form close array, and march in order through 
the tall gates. Heaven favour now thy courage, w^ho 
art deemed worthy of so numerous a foe ! 

A nearer road leads them through copses, where 
by a hidden path they make the better speed and 
travel by a cut through the dense woods. It was a 


ST ATI us 

lecta dolis sedes : gemini procul urbe nialignis 
faucibus urgentur colles, quos umbra superni^ 
montis et incurvis claudunt iuga frondea silvis — 500 
insidias natura loco caecamque latendi 
struxit opem — mediasque arte secat aspera rupes 
semita, quam subter campi devexaque latis 
arva iacent spatiis. contra importuna crepido, 
Oedipodioniae domus alitis ; hie fera quondam 505 
pallentes erecta genas sufFusaque tabo 
lumina, concretis infando sanguine plumis 
relliquias amplexa virum semesaque nudis ^c«-<^^^-m; 
pectoribus stetit ossa premens visuque tremendo^ 
conlustrat campos, si quis concurrere dictis 510 

hospes inexplicitis aut comminus ire viator 
audeat et dirae commercia iungere linguae ; 
nee mora, quin acuens exsertos protinus ungues 
liventesque manus strictosque^ in vulnera* dentes 
terribili adplai^u circum hospita surgeret ora ; 515 
et latuere doli, donee de rupe cruenta 
heu ! simili deprensa viro, eessantibus alis, 
tristis inexpletam scopulis adfligeret alvum. 
monstrat silva nefas : horrent \acina iuvenci 
gramina,damnatis avidum pecus abstinet herbis ; 520 
nonDryadum placet umbra choris,non commodasacris 
Faunorum, diraeque etiam fugere volucres 
prodigiale nemus. tacitis hue gressibus acti 

^ quos superni Pw : quas superne Mueller : quos superne 

" tremendo Mueller : frementi P : trementi w. 

* strictosque Housman : fractosque Pw. 

* in vulnera PN : in vulnere w. 

" The scene of the ambush is modelled on ^'irg. Aen. 
xi. 522 sq., but Statins has made it obscure and difficult : 
"colles urgentur faucibus " seems to be merely an inversion 

THEBAID, II. 498-523 

clioice spot for a stratagem : " at a distance from the 
city two hills bear close upon each other with a 
grudging gulf between ; the shadow of a mountain 
above and leafy ridges of curving woodland shut 
them in. Nature has implanted treachery in the 
place, and the means of hidden ambush. Through 
the middle of the rocks threads a rough and narrow 
track, below which lies a plain and a broad expanse 
of sloping fields. Over against it a threatening cliff 
rises high, the home of the winged monster of 
Oedipus ** ; here aforetime she stood, fierce uplifting 
her pallid cheeks, her eyes tainted with corruption and 
lier plumes all clotted with hideous gore ; grasping 
human remains and clutching to her breast half- 
eaten bones she scanned the plains with awful gaze, 
should any stranger dare to join in the strife of 
riddling words, or any traveller confront her and 
parley with her terrible tongue ; then, without more 
ado, sharpening forthwith the unsheathed talons of 
her livid hands and her teeth bared for wounding, 
she rose with dreadful beating of wings around the 
faces of the strangers ; nor did any guess her riddle, 
till caught by a hero that proved her match, with 
failing wings — ah ! horror ! — from the bloody cliff 
she dashed her insatiate paunch in despair upon the 
rocks beneath. The wood gives reminder of the dread 
story : the cattle abhor theneighbouring pastures, and 
the flock, though greedy, will not touch the fateful 
herbage ; no Di-yad choirs take delight in the shade, 
it ill beseems the sacred rites of the Fauns, even birds 
obscene fly far from the abomination of the grove. 
Speeding hither with silent steps comes the doomed 

of "fauces urgentur collibus." The "gemiiii colles " recur 
in vi. 257. '' The Sphinx. 

VOL. I 2 K 433 

ST ATI us 

deveniunt }3eritura cohors, hostemque superbuni 
adnixi iaculis et humi posita arma tenentes 525 

exspectant densaque nemus statione coronaiit.; 

Coeperat umenti Phoebuni subtexere palla 
Nox et caeruleam terris infuderat umbram. 
ille propinquabat sihas et ab aggere celso 
scuta virum galeasque \idet rutilai-e eomantis, 530 
qua laxant rami nemus adversaque sub umbra 
flammeus aeratis lunae tremor errat in armis. 
obstipuit visis, ibat tamen ; horrida tantum 
spicula et inclusum capulo tenus admovet ensem, 
ac prior " unde, \iri, quidve occultatis in armis ? " 535 
non humili terrore rogat. nee reddita^ contra 
vox, fidamque negant suspecta silentia pacem. 
ecce autem vasto Chtlionii contorta lacerto, 
quo duce freta cohors, fuscas intervolat auras 
hasta ; sed audenti deus et fortuna recessit. 540 

per tamen Olenii tegimen suis atraque saetis 
terga super laevos umeros vicina cruori 
effugit et viduo iugulum ferit inrita ligno. 
tunc horrere comae sanguisque in corda gelari. 
hue ferus atque illuc animum pallentiaque ira 545 
ora ferens — nee tanta putat sibi bella parari — : 
" ferte gradum contra campoque erumpite aperto ! 
quis timor audendi, quae tanta ignavia ? solus, 
solus in arma voco." neque in his mora ; quos ubi 

quam ratus, innumeris videt excursare latebris, 550 
hos prodire^ iugis, illos e vallibus imis 
crescere, nee paucos campo, totumque sub armis 
eonlucere iter, ut clausas indagine profert 
in medium vox prima feras, quae sola medendi 

1 reddita w : credita P. 
^ prodire «: deire P ; cf. vi. 519. 

THEBAID, II. 524-554 

band ; leaning on their spears and with grounded 
arms held ready, they await their haughty foe, and 
set strong guard around the wood. 

Night had begun to shroud the sunlight in her 
dewy pall, and had cast over the earth her dark 
shadow. The hero drew nigh the woods, and from 
a lofty mound sees the red gleam of warriors' shields 
and plumed helmets, where the forest boughs leave 
an open space, and through the opposing shade the 
flickering moonlight plays upon the brazen armour. 
Appalled at the sight he yet went onward ; he but 
draws to him his spiky darts, and the sword sheathed 
to the hilt. Then first he makes question, in no 
base terror : " Whence are ye, men, what mean ye 
lurking thus armed ? " No voice made answer, the 
suspicious silence holds no sure pledge of peace. Lo ! 
a spear, hurled by the miglity arm of Chthonius, the 
leader of the band, flies through the dusky air ; but 
heaven and fortune lent no aid to his venture. Yet 
through the covering of Olenian boar and the black 
bristly hide it sped, over his shoulder, near drawing 
l)lood, and widowed of its point strikes harmless on 
his throat. With hair erect and blood frozen about 
liis heart he looks this way and that, fiercely alert 
and pale with rage, nor deems so large a troop to be 
equipped against him : " Come forth against me ! out 
with you into the open ! why such timorous daring, 
such arrant cowardice? alone I challenge you, alone ! " 
Nor waited they ; but when he saw them, more 
than he thought, swarming up from countless lurking 
places, some issuing from the ridges, others in ever- 
growing numbers coming from the valley-depths, nor 
few upon the plain, as when the first cry drives the 
encircled quarry into the open, and the road all lit 


ST ATI us 

turbata ratione via est, petit ardua dirae 555 

Sphinges et abscisis infringens cautibus uncas 
exsuperat iuga dira manus, scopuloque potitus, 
unde procul tergo metiis et via prona noeendi, 
saxum ingens, quod vix plena cervice gementes 
vertere humo valeant niurisque^ inferre iuvenci, 560 
rupibus evellit ; dein toto sanguine nixus 
sustinet, imnianem quaerens librare ruinam, 
qualis in adversos Lapithas erexit inanem 
magnanimus cratera Pholus. stupet obvia leto 
turba superstantem atque emissi turbine mentis 565 
obruitur ; simul ora viruni, siniul arnia nianusque 
fractaque conimixto sederunt pectora ferro. 
quattuor hie adeo disiecti mole sub una 
congemuere, fuga tremefactum protinus agmen 
excutitur coeptis. neque enim temnenda iacebant 570 
funera : fulmineus Dorylas, quern regibus ardens 
aequabat virtus, Martisque e semine Theron 
terrigenas confisus avos, nee vertere cuiquam 
frena seeundus Halys, sed tunc pedes occubat arvis, 
Pentheumque trahens nondum te Phaedimus aequo, 
Bacche, genus, quorum ut subitis exterrita fatis 576 
agmina turbatam vidit laxare catervam, 
quae duo sola manu gestans adclinia monti 
fixerat, intorquet iacula et fugientibus addit. 
mox in plana libens, nudo ne in pectore tela 580 

inciderent, saltu praeceps defertur et orbem, 
quem procul oppresso vidit Therone volutum, 
corripuit, tergoque et vertice tegmina nota 

^ valeant murisque Kooten : murisque valent Pw. 

" As he had been Pentheus' foe, when the latter tried to 
suppress the Bacchanals. 

THEBAID, II. 555-583 

by gleams of armour, he makes for the heights of 
the dire Sphinx — the only path of safety in his 
bewilderment — and tearing his nails upon the slieer 
cliff he scales the dreadful steep and gains mastery 
of the rock, where he has security behind and 
a clear downward range of harm. Then he tears 
away from the rocks a huge boulder, that groaning 
bullocks scarce with full strength could move from 
the ground and drag up to the wall ; then heaving 
with all his force he raises and strives to poise the 
deadly mass : even as great-hearted Pholus lifted 
the empty mixing-bowl against his Lapith foes. 
Right in death's path, aghast they view him high 
aloft ; the mountain falls hurtling, and whelms them ; 
at once human limbs and faces, weapons and armour 
lie in mingled ruin. Four men in all groan mangled 
beneath that one rock ; straightway the host flees 
panic-stricken, dashed from their enterprise. For no 
cowards were they who lay there dead : Dorylas of 
the lightning stroke, in glowing valour a match for 
princes, and Theron of the seed of Mars, proudly 
confident in earth-born ancestors, Halys, second to 
none in swaying at will his reined steed, but fallen 
on those fields in dismounted fight, and Phaedimus, 
who drew his birth from Pentheus, and found thee, 
Bacchus, still his foe." But when he saw the band 
in terror and disordered rout from the sudden fate 
of these, he hurls two javelins — these alone did he 
carry, and had leant them against the mountain — • 
and sends them after the fugitives. Soon, lest darts 
should fall on his exposed breast, of his ow'n will he 
leapt down swiftly to the level plain, and seized the 
shield which he saw had rolled away when Theron 
was crushed down, and with his wonted covering of 



saeptus et hostili propugnans pectora parma 
constitit. inde iterum densi glomerantur in uiium 585 
Ogygidae firmantque gradum ; trahit ocius ensem 
Bistonium Tydeus, Mavortia munera niagni 
Oeneos, et partes pariter divisus in omnes 
hos obit atque illos ferroque micantia tela 
decutit ; impeditant numero seque ipsa vicissim . 590 
arma premunt, nee vis conatibiis ulla, sed ipsae 
in soeios errare manus et corpora turba 
involvi prolapsa sua ; manet ille ruentes 
angustus telis et inexpugnabilis obstat. 
non aliter — Geticae si fas est credere Phlegrae — 595 
armatum immensus Briareus stetit aethera contra, 
hinc Phoebi pharetras, hinc torvae Pallados anguis, 
inde Pelethroniam praefixa cuspide pinum 
Martis, at hinc lasso mutata^ Pyracmone temnens 
fulmina, cum toto nequiquam obsessus Olympo 600 
tot queritur cessare manus : non segnior ardet 
hue illuc clipeum obiectans, seque ipse recedens 
circuit, interdum trepidis occurrit et instat 
spicula devellens, clipeo quae plurima toto 
fixa tremunt armantque virum saepe aspera passum 
volnera, sed nullum vitae in secreta receptum 606 
nee mortem sperare valet. ^ rotat ipse furentem 
Deilochum, coniitemque illi iubet ire sub umbras 
Phegea sublata minitantem bella securi 
Dircaeumque Gyan et Echionium Lycophontem. 610 

^ mutata Pw : niotata Laclimann. 
^ valet Pw : valens, iubet, vacat edd. 


THEBAID, II. 58^-610 

hack and head, and breast defended by his enemy's 
shield he stood his ground. Then gathering again 
into one dense body the Ogygians advance ; instantly 
Tydeus draws his Bistonian blade, great Oeneus' 
warlike gift, and attacking every quarter alike con- 
fronts now these, now those, and with his sword 
strikes down their glittering weapons ; their numbers 
hinder them, and their arms impede each other ; no 
strength is in their efforts, but their blows go astray 
on their own fellows, and falling they are entangled 
in their own disorder. He awaits their onset, a 
narrow mark for javelins, and resists them, firm and 
unshakable. Not otherwise — if Getic Phlegra be 
worthy credence "■ — stood Briareus vast in bulk 
against embattled heaven, contemning on this hand 
Phoebus' quiver, on that the serpents of stern Pallas, 
here Mars' Pelethronian pinewood shaft, with point 
of iron, and yonder the thunderbolts oft changed 
for new by weary Pyracmon, and yet complaining, 
though combated in vain by all Olympus, that so 
many hands were idle ; no fainter was he in ardour, 
with shield outheld now this way, now that, himself 
retiring, doubling round, and ever and anon darting 
on their irresolute lines and pressing his vantage, 
while he pulls forth the many javelins that are stuck 
quivering all about his shield, an armoury for the 
hero ; and many a bitter wound he suffers, yet none 
gains entrance to life's secret courses, nor may hope 
to be deadly. A whirling stroke deals he at raging 
Deilochus, and bids Phegeus, who threatens attack 
with axe upraised, go join him beneath the shades, 
Dircean Gyas too and Lycophontes of Echionian 

" Phlegra in Thrace where the gods fought the giants. 



iam trepidi sese quaerunt numerantque, nee idem 

caedis amor, tantamque dolent rarescere turbam. 

Ecce Chromis Tyrii demissus origine Cadmi — 

liunc utero quondam Dryope Phoenissa gravato 

rapta repente choris onerisque oblita ferebat, 615 

dumque trahit prensis taurum tibi cornibus, Euhan, 

procidit impulsus nimiis conatibus infans — • 

tunc audax iaeulis et capti pelle leonis 

pinea nodosae quassabat robora clavae 

increpitans : " unusne, viri, tot caedibus unus 620 

ibit ovans Argos ? vix credet fama reverse ! 

heus socii, nullaene manus, nulla arma valebunt ? 

haec regi promissa, Cydon, haec, Lampe, dabamus ? " 

dum clamat, subit ore cavo Teumesia cornus, 

nee prohibent fauces ; atque illi voce repleta 625 

intercepta natat prorupto in sanguine lingua. 

stabat adhuc, donee transmissa morte per artus 

labitur immorsaque cadens obmutuit hasta. 

vos quoque, Thespiadae, cur infitiatus honora 

arcuerim^ fama ? fratris moribunda levabat 630 

membra solo Periphas — nil indole clarius ilia 

nee pietate fuit — , laeva marcentia colla 

sustentans dextraque latus ; singultibus artum 

exhaurit thoraca dolor, nee vincla coercent 

undantem fletu galeam, cum multa gementi 635 

pone gravis curvas perfringit lancea costas. 

1 arcuerim K : argiierim Pu. 

" i.e., Bacchus. 
** Teumesus was a mountain near Thebes. 


THEBAID, II. 611-636 

stock. And now, losing heai't, they seek each other 
and count tlieir numbers, nor feel the same zest for 
blood, but grieve that so large a band is growing few. 

Lo ! Chromis, of Tyrian Cadmus' seed — him 
once Phoenician Dryope was carrying in her weighted 
womb, when revelling bands swept her along forget- 
ful of her burden, and while she was dragging a 
bull unto thee, O Euhan," grasping its horns, the 
babe fell forth by stress of undue striving — Chromis 
at that time, in bold confidence of spears and hide 
of captured lion, brandished a stout club of knotted 
pinewood, and taunting cried : "Is one man, ye 
warriors, one man to go to Argos, boasting of so 
many slain ? Scarce will he gain credence on his 
return ! Come, friends, are there none strong in arm 
or weapon any more ? was this our promise to the 
king, O Cydon ? was it this, O Lampus ? " While 
yet he shouts, the Teumesian * cornel-shaft enters 
liis open mouth, nor does his throat stay it ; his voice 
is choked, and the sundered tongue floats in the 
rush of blood. Awhile he stood, till death poured 
through his limbs, and he fell, and falling was silent, 
while his teeth bit upon the spear. 

You too, O Thespians, why should I deny you and 
withhold from honourable renown } Periphas — none 
of brighter parts than he, or truer devotion — was 
raising from the ground his brother's dying frame, 
his left hand supporting the languid neck, and his 
right arm about his side ; his breast beneath the 
cuirass is drained by choking sobs of grief, nor can 
the fastenings restrain the welling tears that flow 
from his helm, when amid his deep groans a heavy 
spear shatters his curved ribs from behind him, 



exit et in fratrem, cognataque pectora telo^ 

consent ; ille oculos etiamnum^ in luce natantes 

sistit et aspecta germani morte resolvit. 

at cui v'ita recens et adhuc in vulnere vires G40 

" hos tibi complexus, haec dent " ait " oscula nati." 

procubuere pai-es fatis, miserabile votum 

mortis, et alterna clauserunt luniina dextra. 

Protinus idem iiltro iaculo parmaque Menoeten 
proterrebat agens trepidis vestigia retro 645 

passibus urgentem, donee defecit iniqua 
lapsus humo, pariterque manus distractus in ambas 
orat et a iugulo nitentem sustinet hastam : 
" parce per has stellis intcrlabentibus umbras, 
per superos noctemque tuam ; sine, ti'istia Thebis 650 
nuntius acta feram vulgique per ora paventis 
contempto te rege canam : sic inrita nobis 
tela cadant, nullique tuum penetrabile ferro 
pectus, et optanti victor reveharis amico," 
dixerat. ille nihil vultu mutatus " inanes 655 

perdis " ait " lacrimas, et tu, ni fallor, iniquo 
^^ pollicitus mea colla duci : nunc arma diemque 
proice ; quid timidae sequeris compendia vitae ? 
bella manent." simul haec, et crassum sanguine telum 
iam redit ; ille super dictis infensus amaris 660 

prosequitur victos : " non haec trieterica vobis 
nox patrio de more venit, non orgia Cadmi 
cernitis aut avidas Bacchum scelerare parentes. 
nebridas et fragiles thyrsos portare putastis 

^ telo Po) : ferro Schol. iii. 152 : leto Nattke. 
^ etianinuni w : et adhuc P : temii iam Garrod, tclto cj). 
Sil. It. ii. 132. 

" Perhaps Tydeus should be regarded as the subject of 

* i.e., in war there is no use for the craven. 

THEBAID, II. 637-664 

Issuing from him it pierces his brother also, and 
with one weapon unites the kindred breasts." The 
other steadies his swimming eyes, where light still 
lingered, but beholding his kinsman done to death 
closes them in darkness. But he, to whom life re- 
mains and strength as yet despite his wound, cries : 
" Such an embrace, such kisses may thy sons give 
thee ! " So fell they, alike in doom, their vow per- 
forn^ed alas ! in death, and their eyes closed each 
by the other's hand. 

But Tydeus, straightway attacking, drove Menoetes 
with shield and spear before him terrified, in hurried 
backward retreat, till stumbling on the uneven ground 
lie lost his footing ; then prays he with both hands 
spread wide in supplication, and pushes away the 
spear that presses at his throat : " Spare me, I 
beseech thee by these star-inwoven shades, by the 
gods above, and by this night that favours thee : 
suffer me to bear to Thebes the sad tidings of thy 
deeds, and in our king's despite laud thee before our 
trembling folk ; so may our darts fall fruitless and 
no steel pierce thy breast, and thou return triumphant 
to thy friend's desire ! " He finished, but the other 
with countenance unchanged : " Vain tears thou 
wastest, and thou, if I mistake not, didst promise 
my head to the cruel prince. Surrender now thy 
arms and the light of day ! Why seek the gaining of 
thy craven life ? 'Tis wars are waiting." ^ While yet 
he speaks, the spear-point returns thick-clotted with 
blood. Thereupon with bitter words he pursues the 
vanquished : " No triennial night or solemn festival 
are ye keeping now ! no orgies of Cadmus do ye 
behold, no mothers eager to profane Bacchus ! Did 
ye think ye were carrying fawnskins and brittle 



imbellem ad sonitum maribusque incognita veris 665 
foeda Celaenaea committere proelia buxo ? 
hie aliae caedes, alius furor : ite sub umbras, 
o timidi paucique ! " haec intonat ; ast tamen illi 
membra negant, lassusque ferit praecordia sanguis, 
iam sublata manus cassos defertur in ictus, C70 

tardatique gradus, clipeum nee sustinet umbo 
mutatum^ spoliis,^ gelidus cadit imber anhelo 
pectore, tum crines ardentiaque ora cruentis 
roribus et taeti'a morientum aspargine manant : 
ut leo, qui campis longe custode fugato 675 

Massylas depastus oves, ubi sanguine multo 
luxuriata fames cervixque et tabe gravatae 
consedere iubae, mediis in caedibus adstat 
aeger, hians victusque cibis ; nee iam amplius irae 
crudescunt : tantum vacuis ferit aera malis 680 

molliaque eiecta delambit vellera lingua. 

Ille etiam Thebas spoliis et sanguine plenus 
isset et attonitis sese populoque ducique 
ostentasset ovans, ni tu, Tritonia virgo, 
flagrantem multaque operis caligine plenum 685 

consilio dignata virum : " sate gente superbi 
Oeneos, absentes cui dudum vincere Thebas 
adnuimus, iam pone modum nimiumque seeundis 
parce deis : huic una fides optanda labori. 
fortuna satis usus abi." restabat acerbis 690 

funeribus socioque gregi non sponte superstes 
^ mutatum Pw : nutantem Lachmann. 
^ spoliis Pw : spiclis conj. Alton. 

" Where Marsyas the flute-player was defeated by Apollo. 

^ Cf. the use of " mutare " in vii. 71. E. H. Alton 
suggests *' spiclis " for " spoliis." The spoils are apparently 
regarded as carried on the shield, "spiclis" ("darts") 
would refer to the missiles sticking in the shield, flung by 
his enemies. 

THEBAID, II. 665-G91 

wands to your un\\arlike music ? or were joining the 
fray that true men know nought of at the sound of 
Celaenae's" boxwood pipe? Far other carnage is 
this, far other madness ! To death with you, cowards 
and too few ! " So tluxnders he, but nevertheless 
his hmbs deny him, and the tired blood beats heavy 
on his heart. His arm is raised, but falls in idle 
blows, his steps are slow, nor can his elbow bear 
the weight of the buckler changed * by the spoils 
it bears ; the cold sweat pours down his panting 
breast, and his hair and burning visage stream with 
gory dew and the foul bespattering of dying bodies : 
even as a lion, who has driven the shepherd tar from 
tlie meadows and taken his fill of Massylian sheep, 
when his hunger is sated in abundance of blood, and 
his neck and mane are congealed and heavy with 
corruption, stands faint in the midst of the slaughter, 
his mouth agape, fordone with gorging ; gone is 
his savage fury, he only snaps in the air his empty 
jaws, and with hanging tongue licks them clean of 
the soft wool. 

Rich in spoils and bloodshed, he would even have 
gone to Thebes, and vaunted his triumph before 
astonished prince and people, hadst not thou, Tri- 
tonian maid,'' deemed worthy of thy counsel the hero, 
still ardent and all dazed by his deeds : " Scion of 
proud Oeneus, to whom just now, though far away, 
we granted victory over Thebes, set now a limit, and 
strain no more the gods' undue favour ; seek only 
credence for these toils. Depart, having used thy 
fortune to the full." There yet remained, an un- 
willing survivor of his comrades' slaughter, Maeon, 

" Pallas Athene, who was born, according to one legend, 
from a lake Triton in Libj'a. 


ST ATI us 

Haemonides — ille liaec praevidei'at, oniina docLus 

aeris^ et nulla deceptus ab alite — Maeon, 

nee veritus prohibei-e ducem, sed fata monentem 

privavere fide, vita miserandus inerti 695 

damnatur ; trepido Tydeus immitia mandat : 

" quisquis es Aonidum, quern crastina munere nostro 

manibus exemptum mediis Aurora videbit, 

haec iubeo perferre duci : cinge aggere portas, 

tela nova, fragiles aevo circum inspice muros, 700 

praecipue stipare viros densasque memento 

multiplicare acies ! fumantem hunc aspiee late 

ense meo campum : tales in bella venimus." 

Haec ait, et meritae pulcbrum tibi, Pallas, honorem 
sanguinea de strage parat, praedamque iacentem 705 
comportat gaudens ingentiaque acta recenset. 
quercus erat tenerae iam longum oblita iuventae 
aggere camporum medio, quam plurimus ambit 
frondibus incurvis et crudo robore cortex, 
huic leves galeas perfossaque vulnere crebro 710 

inserit arma ferens, huic truncos ictibus enses 
subligat et tractas membris spirantibus hastas. 
corpora tunc atque arma simul cumulata superstans 
incipit — oranti nox et iuga longa resultant — : 
" diva ferox, magni decus ingeniumque parentis, 715 
bellipotens, cui toi'va genis horrore decoro 
cassis et asperso crudescit sanguine Gorgon, 
nee magis ardentes Mavors hastataque pugnae 
impulerit Bellona tubas, huic adnue sacro, 
seu Pandionio nostras invisere noctes^ 720 

1 aeris P : aeros BKN -. heros IJQ (aeris inritten over in Q). 
^ noctes Postgate : voces P : caedes P in margin, and w. 

* The AcropoHs of Athens, M-here Pandion once reigned. 

THEBAID, II. G92-720 

tlie son of Haemon ; all this he had foreseen, taught 
of omens from the air nor deceived by any bird ; nor 
had he feared to deter his chieftain, but the fates 
deprived his warnings of belief. His doom is to 
be pitied as a useless life ; in terror he receives 
Tydeus' stern behest-: " Whosoever of the Aonians 
thou art, whom saved by my bounty from uttermost 
darkness to-morrow's Dawn shall yet behold, this 
message I command thee to carry to thy prince : 
Raise a mound about your gates, renew your weapons, 
see to your old and mouldering walls, mind above all 
to marshall your men in close array and press troop 
on troop ; look now at this field, everywhere smoking 
from my sword : even so do we make war ! " 

So speaking, he prepares for thee, O Pallas, of thy 
deserving a fair guerdon from the gory rout, and in 
joy collects the booty lying there and surveys all his 
mighty deeds. Upon a hillock in niid-plain there 
was an oak tree, long time forgetful of its tender 
youth, with curving boughs and rude strength of 
trunk and thick encompassing bark. To this he 
brings and fastens smooth helmets and armour 
pierced by many a stroke, to this he binds swords 
that his blows have broken short and spears pulled 
out from limbs yet breathing. Standing then on the 
heap of arms and bodies he thus begins, while night 
and the long ridges make echo to his prayer : " Stern 
goddess, glory and wisdom of thy mighty sire, 
powerful in war, thou on whose cheeks the terrible 
splendour of thy grim casque and blood-besprinkled 
Gorgon glow fierce with rage, — nor did ever Mavors 
or Bellona with her battle-spear inspire more furious 
trumpet-blasts — look favourably on this offering, 
whether thou comest from Pandion's hill ^ to be 


ST ATI us 

monte venis, sive Aonia devertis^ Itone 
laeta choris, seu tu Libyco Tritone repexas 
lota comas, qua te biiugo temone frementem 
intemeratarum volucer rapit axis equarum : 
nunc tibi fracta virum spolia informisque dicamus 725 
exuvias. at si patriis Parthaonis arvis 
inferar et reduci pateat mihi Martia Pleuron, 
aurea tunc mediis urbis tibi templa dicabo 
collibus, lonias qua despectare procellas 
dulce sit, et flavo toUens ubi vertice pontum 730 

turbidus obiectas Achelous Echinadas exit, 
hie ego maioruni pugnas vultusque tremendos 
magnanimum effingam regum, figamque superbis 
arma tholis, quaeque ipse meo quaesita revexi 
sanguine, quaeque dabis captis, Tritonia, Thebis 735 
centum ibi virgineis votae Calydonides aris 
Actaeas tibi rite faces et ab arbore casta 
nectent purpureas niveo discrimine vittas, 
pervigilemque focis ignem longaeva sacerdos 
nutriet, arcanum numquam spretura^ pudorem. 740 
tu bellis, tu pace feres de more frequentes 
primitias operum, non indignante Diana." 
dixerat, et dulces iter instaurabat ad Argos. 

^ devertis Pw: divertis DX: de vertice conj. Garrod. 
^ spretura P : inspectura w. 

" A mountain in Thessaly, on which there was a temple 
of Athena. Aonian seems here to mean haunt of Muses, 
from its usual meaning, Boeotian : the Muses were con- 
nected with Thessaly also. 

* See note on 1. 684. 


THEBAID, II. 721-743 

present at my night of triumph, or whether thou 
dost turn aside from thy glad dances in Aonian Itone," 
or hast washed and combed thy hair again in Libyan * 
Triton's waters, whither the fleet axle of thy inviolate 
mares doth speed thee shouting loud upon thy two- 
horsed chariot; now do we dedic<ate to thee the 
shattered spoils and shapeless armour of heroes. But 
should I come to my native Parthaonian fields," and 
Martian Pleuron throw wide her gates for my return- 
ing, then in the midst of the city's hills will I con- 
secrate to thee a golden temple, where it may be thy 
pleasure to look down upon Ionian storms, and where 
turbulent Achelous with yellow head tossed high 
disturbs the deep, and leaves the barrier of the 
Echinades behind. Here will I carve ancestral wars 
and the awful visages of great-hearted kings, and 
arms will I hang in the proud shrines, arms that I 
myself bore home and gained at my own blood's 
cost, and those that thou, Tritonian maid, shalt 
give when Thebes is taken. A hundred Calydonian 
maidens there, votaries of thy virgin altars, shall duly 
twine thee Attic torches, and weave from thy chaste 
olive-tree purple fillets set off with snow-white wool ; 
an aged priestess shall tend a never-failing fire upon 
the hearths, and hold in continual reverence thy 
mystic sanctities. Thou as of old shalt win in war 
and in peace rich first-fruits of my labours, nor shall 
Diana be offended." '^ So prayed he, and set out 
again for pleasant Argos. 

" See note on i. 670. 
■^ Diana was the most important deity of Aetolia. 

2g 44.9 


At non Aoniae moderator perfidus aulae^ 
nocte sub ancipiti, quamvis umentibus astris 
longus ad auroram superet labor, otia somni 
accipit ; invigilant animo scelerisque parati 
supplicium exercent curae ; turn plurima versat 5 
pessimus in dubiis augur timor. " ei mihi " clamat, 
" unde morae ? " — nam pi'ona ratus facilemque tot 

Tydea, nee numero virtutem animumque rependit — 
" num regie diversa viae ? num missus ab Argis 
subsidio globus ? an sceleris data fama per urbes 10 
finitimas ? paucosne, pater Gradive, manuve 
legimus indecores ? at enim fortissimus illic 
et Chromis et Dorylas et nostris turribus aequi 
Thespiadae totos raperent mihi funditus Argos. 
nee tamen ille meis, reor, impenetrabilis armis 15 
aere gerens solidoque satos^ adamante lacertos 
venerat ; heu segnes, quorum labor haeret in uno, 
si conserta manus." vario sic turbidus aestu 
angitur ac sese culpat super omnia, qui non 
orantem in mediis legatum coetibus ense 20 

perculerit foedasque palam satiaverit iras. 
iam pudet incepti, iam paenitet. ae velut ille 

^ aulae w : orae P. 
^ satos Heinsius : datos Pw. 



But not to the perfidious lord of the Aonian p<alace 
comes the repose of slumber in the twilight hours, 
although for the dank stars long travail yet remain 
till dawn ; in his mind care holds vigil and WTcaks the 
penalty for his plotted crime ; then fear, gloomiest 
of augurs in perplexity, broods deeply. " Ah me ! " 
he cries, " why this tarrying ? " — for he had deemed 
the task a light one, and Tydeus an easy prey to so 
many warriors, nor weighed his valour and spirit 
against their numbers — " Went they by different 
roads ? Was a company sent from Argos to his 
succour ? Or has news of the deed spread round the 
neighbouring cities ? Chose we too few, O father 
Gradivus, or men unrenowned in action ? But 
valiant Chromis and Dorylas and the Thespians, a 
match for these towers of mine, could at my bidding 
level all Argos with the ground. Nor proof, I ween, 
against my weapons had he come hither, though bis 
frame were wrought of bronze or solid adamant. 
For shame, ye cowards, whose efforts fail before a 
single foe, if indeed ye fought at all ! " Thus is he 
tormented by various gusts of passion, and above all 
blames hiinself, for that he struck not the envoy with 
his sword as he spoke in mid assembly, nor openly 
sated to the full his savage wrath. Now he feels 
shame of his design, and now repents him of the 



fluctibus loniis Calabrae datus arbiter alno — 
nee rudis undarum, portus sed linquere amicos 
purior Olenii frustra gradus impulit astri — , 25 

cum fragor hiberni subitus lovis, omnia mundi 
claustra tenant multusque polos inclinat Orion, 
ipse quidem malit terras pugnatque reverti, 
fert ingens a puppe notus, tunc arte relicta 
ingemit et caecas sequitur iam nescius undas : 30 
talis Agenoreus ductor caeloque morantem 
Luciferum et seros maerentibus increpat ortus. 
Ecce sub occiduas versae iam Noctis habenas 
astrorumque obitus, ubi primum maxima Tethys 
impulit Eoo cunctantem Hyperiona ponto, 35 

ima flagellatis, signum lugubre malorum, 
ponderibus trepidavit humus, motusque Cithaeron 
antiquas dedit ire nives ; tunc visa levari 
culmina septenaeque iugo concurrere portae. 
et prope sunt causae : gelido remeabat Eoo 40 

iratus fatis et tristis morte negata 
Haemonides ; necdum ora patent, dubiusque notari 
signa dabat magnae longe manifesta ruinae 
planctuque et gemitu ; lacrimas nam protinus omnis 
fuderat. haud aliter saltu devertitur orbus 45 

pastor ab agrestum nocturna strage luporum, 
cuius erile pecus sihds inopinus abegit^ 
imber et hibernae ventosa cacumina lunae : 

^ abegit Pw : adegit Ellis. 

° The star Capella, whose rising was at the rainy season ; 
from Aege, daughter of Olenus (from whom the AetoHan 
town derived its name), who with her sister Hehce suckled 
Zeus in Crete, and as a reward Mas turned into a goat and 
given a place in the sky. The rising of Orion was also at 
the rainy season. " Brings low the poles " : i.e., when the 
low clouds make the sky seem to touch the earth. 


THEBAID, III. 23-48 

shame. And like to the appointed helmsman of a 
Calabrian barque upon Ionian waters (nor does he 
lack sea-craft, but the Olenian star" rising clearer than 
its wont has beguiled him to leave a friendly haven), 
when a sudden uproar fills the wintry sky, and all 
heaven's confines thunder, and Orion in full might 
brings low the poles — he himself would fain win tlie 
land, and struggles to return, but a strong south 
wind astern bears him on ; then, abandoning his 
craft, he groans, and heedless now follows the blind 
waters : even so the Agenorean chieftain upbraids 
Lucifer, yet lingering in the heavens, and the sun, 
so slow to rise on the distressed. 

Lo ! beneath the western rein of Night, her course 
already turned, and the setting stars, so soon as 
mighty Tethys had driven forth tardy Hyperion 
from the Eastern sea, the earth with swaying masses 
trembled to her foundations, drear sign of ills to come, 
and Cithaeron was stirred and made his ancient 
snows to move ; then were the rooftops seen to rise 
and the sevenfold gates to meet the mountain- 
ridges. Nor distant was the cause : wroth with his 
destiny and sad that death had been denied him, the 
son of Haemon ^ was returning in the cold hour of 
dawn ; not yet is his face plain, but, though indistinct 
to view, he gave from afar clear signs of dire disaster 
by wailing and beating his breast ; for all his tears 
had soon been shed. Not otherwise does a bereaved 
herdsman leave the glade where savage wolves have 
wrought nocturnal carnage, what time a sudden 
squall of rain and the windy horns of the winter 
moon have driven his master's cattle to the woods ; 

'' Maeon, see ii. 690. 



luce patent caedes ; domino perferre recentes 
ipse timet casus, haustaque informis harena 50 

questibus implet agros, stabulique silentia magni 
odit et amissos longo ciet ordine tauros. 

Ilium congestae portarum ad limina matres 
ut solum \ddere — nefas ! — nulla agmina circum 
magnanimosque duces, nil ansae quaerere tollunt 55 
clamorem, qualis bello supremus apertis 
urbibus, aut pelago iam descendente^ carina, 
ut primum invisi cupido data copia regis : 
" hanc tibi de tanto donat ferus agmine Tydeus 
infelicem animam, sive haec sententia divum, 60 

seu fortuna fuitj seu, quod pudet ira fateri, 
vis invicta \dri. vix credo et nuntius : omnes 
procubuere, omnes. noctis vaga lumina testor 
et socium manes et te, mala protinus ales, 
qua redeo, non hanc lacrimis meruisse nee astu 65 
crudelem veniam atque inhonorae munera lucis. 
sed mihi iussa deum placitoque ignara moveri 
Atropos atque olim non haec data ianua leti 
eripuere necem. iamque ut mihi prodiga vitae 
pectora et extremam nihil horrescentia mortem 70 
aspicias : bellum infandum ominibusque negatam 
movisti, funeste, aciem ; dum pellere leges, 
et consanguineo gestis^ regnare superbus 
exsule, te series orbarum excisa domorum 
planctibus adsiduis, te diro horrore volantes 75 

quinquaginta animae circum noctesque diesque 

■■■ descendente Pco : desidente Heinsius. Klotz cp. Val. 
Flacc. viii. 332. ^ gestis P : gliscis w. 

" " protinus " : lit. " thou immediately, i.e., inevitably evil 


THEBAID, III. 49-76 

light makes the slaugliter manifest ; he fears to take 
the new tidings to his lord, and pouring unsightly 
dust upon his head fills the fields with his lamenta- 
tions, and hates the vast and silent stalls, while he 
calls aloud the long roll of his lost bulls. 

When the mothers crowding to the threshold of 
the gates beheld him all alone — ah, horror ! — no 
troop around him or valiant chieftains, they venture 
not to question him, but raise a cry like unto that 
last cry when cities are flung open to the victors, or 
when a ship sinks at sea. As soon as audience at 
his desire was granted by the hated king : " This 
hapless life fierce Tydeus doth present thee of all 
that company, whether the gods have willed it so, or 
fortune, or, as my anger feels shame to confess, that 
man's unconquerable might. Scarce do I believe 
my own report ; all have perished, all ! Witness 
night's wandering fires, my comrades' ghosts, and 
thou, evil omen wherewith I must needs return,*^ 
no tears nor wiles won me this cruel grace and 
dishonoured gift of light. But the gods' commands 
snatched destruction from me, and Atropos, whose 
pleasure knows no denial, and the fate that long 
since shut against me this door of death. And now 
that thou mayst see that my heart is prodigal of 
life, nor shrinks from final doom : 'tis an unholy 
war thou hast begun, thou man of blood, no omens 
will approve thy arms ; and while thou endeavourest 
to banish law, and reign exultant in thy kinsman's 
exile, the unceasing plaint of a long line of ruined 
desolate homes, and fifty spirits hovering night and 
day shall haunt thee with dire terror ; for I also 

omen " : the very fact of his cominif home alive was an evil 
omen, because it meant that he must kill himself. 



adsilient ; neque enim ipse moror." iam moverat iras 
rex feruSj et tristes ignescunt sanguine vultus. 
inde ultro Phlegyas et non cunctator iniqui 
Labdacus — hos regni ferruni penes — ire manuque 80 
proturbare parant. sed iam nudaverat ensem 
magnanimus vates, et nunc trucis ora tyranni, 
nunc ferrum aspectans : " numquam tibi sanguinis 

ius erit aut niagno feries imperdita Tydeo 
pectora ; vado equidem exsultans ereptaque fata 85 
insequor et comites feror exspectatus ad umbras, 
te superis fratrique — " et iam media orsa loquentis 
absciderat plenum capulo latus ; ille dolori 
pugnat et ingentem nisu duplicatus in ictum 
conruit, extremisque animae singultibus errans 90 
alternus nunc ore venit, nunc vulnere sanguis, 
excussae procerum mentes, turbataque mussant 
concilia ; ast ilium coniunx fidique parentes 
servantem vultus et torvum in morte peracta, 
non longum reducem laetati, in tecta ferebant. 95 
sed ducis infandi rabidae non hactenus irae 
stare queunt ; vetat igne rapi, pacemque sepulcri 
impius ignaris nequiquam manibus arcet. 

Tu tamen egregius fati mentisque nee umquam — 
sic dignuni est — passure situm,qui comminus ausus 100 
vadere eontemptum reges, quaque ampla veniret 
libertas, sancire viam : quo carmine dignam, 
quo satis ore tuis famam virtutibus addam, 
augur amate deis ? non te caelestia frustra 

THEBAID, III. 77-104 

delay not." Already the fiei-ce king's anger was 
stirred, and blood lights up his scowling visage. 
Then Phlegyas and Labdacus, who never dallied at 
evil work — the realm's armed might was in their 
keeping — prepare unbidden to go and assault him 
with \'iolence. But ah-eady the great-souled seer 
had bared his blade, and looking now at the truculent 
tyrant's face, now at his sword : " Never shalt thou 
have power upon this blood of mine nor strike the 
breast that great Tydeus spared ; I go, yea exultant, 
and meet the fate whereof he robbed me ; I am borne 
to the shades of my expectant comrades. As for 

thee, to the gods and thy brother " Even as he 

spoke, the sword was in his side to the hilt, cutting 
short his words ; he fights against the agony, and with 
a strong effort doubling himself over the mighty blow 
sinks down, and the blood, sped by the last gaspings 
of his life, comes forth now from his mouth, now from 
the wound. Tlie chiefs are stricken with dismay, the 
councillors mutter in alarm ; but he, with visage set 
and grim in the death his hand accomplished, is 
borne to his house by his wife and trusty kinsmen, 
who have had no long joy of his return. But the 
mad rage of the impious ruler cannot so long be 
stayed ; he forbids that the corpse be consumed with 
fire, and in vain defiance bars the peace of the tomb 
from the unwitting shades. 

But thou, so noble in thy death and in thy con- 
stancy, thou who wilt never suffer oblivion — such is 
thy due reward — thou who daredst scorn a monarch 
to his face, and thus hallow the path of ample free- 
dom : by what strain of sufficing utterance can I add 
due renown to thy liigh prowess, augur beloved by 
the gods ? Not in vain did Apollo teach thee all his 



edocuit lauruque sua dignatus Apollo est/ 105 

et nemorum Dodona parens Cirrhaeaque virgo 

gaudebit^ tacito populos suspendere Phoebo. 

nunc quoque Tartareo multum divisus Averno 

Elysias, i, carpe plagas, ubi manibus axis 

invius Ogygiis nee sontis iniqua tyranni 1 10 

iussa valent ; durant habitus et membra cruentis 

in\dolata feris, nudoque sub axe iacentem 

et nemus et tristis volucrum reverentia servat. 

At nuptae exanimes puerique aegrique parentes 
moenibus effusi per plana, per avia, passim 115 

quisque suas a\idi ad lacrimas miserabile currunt 
certamen, quos densa gradu comitantur euntes 
milia solandi studio ; pars \asere flagrant 
unius acta viri et tantos in nocte labores. 
fervet iter gemitu et plangoribus arva reclamant. 120 
ut vero infames scopulos silvamque nefandam 
perventum, ceu nulla prius lamenta nee atri 
manassent imbres, sic ore miserrimus uno 
exoritur fragor, aspectuque accensa cruento 
turba furit : stat sanguineo discissus amictu 125 

Luctus atrox caesoque invitat pectore matres. 
scrutantur galeas frigentum inventaque monstrant 
corpora, prociduae super externosque suosque. 
hae pressant in tabe comas, hae lumina signant 
vulneraque alta rigant^lacrimis,pars spiculadextra 130 
nequiquam parcente trahunt, pars molliter aptant 
bracchia trunca loco et cervicibus ora reponunt. 

^ There is possibly a lacuna after this line. 

^ gaudebit Markland : audebit Pw. 

^ rigant P : replent w. 

" Theban ; see n. on i. 173. 

THEBAID, III. 105-132 

heavenly lore and deem thee worthy of his laurel, 
and Dodona mother of forests and the Cirrhaean 
^drgin shall rejoice to keep the folk in suspense 
while Phoebus holds his peace. And now far re- 
moved from Tartarean Avernus go thou and roam 
Elysian regions, where the sky admits not Ogygian" 
souls, nor a guilty despot's cruel behests have power ; 
thy raiment and thy limbs endure, left inviolate by 
gory beasts, and the forest and the birds with 
sorrowing awe watch o'er thee, as thou liest beneath 
the naked sky. 

But fainting wives and children and aihng parents 
pour forth from the city walls, and by easy road or 
trackless region everywhere haste in piteous rivalry, 
eager to gain the object of their own lament, while 
in their company go crowded thousands zealous 
to console ; some are burning with desire to see one 
warrior's achievement and all the labours of the 
night. The road is loud with lamentation, and the 
fields re-echo the cries of grief. But when they 
reached the infamous rocks and the accursed wood, 
as though none had mourned before, nor bitter tears 
had flowed, one cry of keenest anguish rises, as from 
one mouth, and the sight of the carnage drives the 
folk to madness ; Grief inconsolable stands there 
with bloody raiment rent and with pierced breast 
incites the mothers. They search the helmets of the 
warriors now cold in death, and display the bodies 
they have found, stretched prostrate alike on stranger 
and on kinsman. Some steep their hair in the gore, 
some close up eyes and wash the deep wounds with 
their tears, others draw out the darts with vainly 
merciful hand, others gently replace the severed limbs 
and set the heads again to their shoulders. 



At vaga per dumos vacuique in pulvere campi 
magna parens iuvenum, gemini nunc funeris, Ide 
squalentem sublata comam liventiaque ora 135 

ungue premens — nee iam infelix miserandaque, verum 
terror inest lacrimis — , per et anna et corpora passim 
canitiem impexam dira tellure volutans 
quaerit inops natos omnique in corpore plangit. 
Thessalis haud aliter bello gaxisa recenti, 140 

cui gentile nefas hominem renovare canendo, 
multifida attollens antiqua lumina cedro 
nocte subit campos versatque in sanguine functum 
vulgus et explorat manes, cui plurima busto 
imperet ad superos : animarum maesta queruntur 145 
concilia, et nigri pater indignatur Averni. 

lUi in secessu pariter sub rupe iacebant 
felices, quos una dies, manus abstulit una, 
pervia vulneribus media trabe pectora nexi. 
ut vidit lacrimisque oculi patuere profusis : 150 

" hosne ego complexus genetrix, haec oscula, nati, 
vestra tuor ? sic vos extreme in fine ligavit 
ingenium crudele necis ? quae vulnera tractem, 
quae prius ora premam ? vosne ilia potentia matris, 
vos uteri fortuna mei, qua tangere dives 155 

rebar et Ogygias titulis anteire parentes ? 
at quanto melius dextraque in sorte iugatae, 
quis steriles thalami nulloque ululata dolore 
respexit Lucina domum ! mihi quippe malorum 

" A Theban mother, not elsewhere mentioned : the names 
of her sons are not given. 

* i.e., of being disturbed by the witch. 


THEBAID, III. 133-159 

But Ide "■ wanders through tlie thickets and on the 
open dusty plam — Ide, mighty mother of twin 
heroes, twinned now in death — with dishevelled hair 
all flowing, and nails piercing deep her livid cheeks ; 
no more unhappy or pitiable is she, but terrible in 
her grief ; and everywhere by weapons and by bodies 
she strews on the dire ground her white uncombed 
locks, and in helpless plight seeks her sons and over 
every corpse makes lamentation. Not otherwise does 
the Thessalian witch, whose race's hideous art it is 
to charm back men to life by spell of song, rejoice 
in warfare lately ended, and holding high her faggot- 
torch of ancient cedar nightly haunt the fields, while 
she turns the slain folk over in their blood, and tries 
the dead, to see to which corpse she shall give many 
a message for the world above ; the gloomy councils 
of the shades complain,^ and black Avernus' sire 
waxes indignant. 

Together they were lying, apart from the rest 
beneath a rock, fortunate, that one day, one hand 
had wrought their doom ; their wound-pierced 
breasts are knit fast by the uniting spear. She saw 
them, and her eyes made passage for the streaming 
tears : " Is it so ye embrace, my sons, is it so ye 
kiss, before your mother's eyes ? Is it so that 
Death's cruel cunning at the final hour hath bound 
you ? Which wounds shall I first touch, which face 
caress ? Are ye those strong defenders of your 
mother, that glory of my womb, whereby I thought 
to touch the gods, and surpass the mothers of Ogygia 
in renown ? How much better far, how happy in 
their union are they whose chamber is barren, whose 
house Lucina never visited at the cry of travail ! 
Nay, to me my labour hath brought but sorrow. 



causa labor ; sed nee bellorum in luce patenti 160 

conspicui fatis aeternaque gentibus ausi 

quaesistis miserae vulnus memorabile matri, 

sed mortem obscuram numerandaque^ funera passi, 

heu quantus furto cruor et sine laude iacetis ! 

quin ego non dextras miseris complexibus ausira 165 

dividere et tanti consortia rumpere leti : 

ite diu fratres indiscretique supremis 

ignibus et caros uma confundite manes ! " 

Nee minus interea digesta strage suorum 
hie Cthonium coniunx, hie mater Penthea clamat 170 
Astyoche, puerique rudes, tua, Phaedime, proles, 
amissum didicere patrem, Marpessaque pactum 
Phyllea, sanguineumque lavant Acamanta sorores. 
tunc ferro retegunt silvas collisque propinqui 
annosum truncant apicem, qui eonscius actis 175 

noctis et inspexit gemitus ; ibi grandior aevo 
ante rogos, dum quisque suo nequit igne revelli, 
concilium infaustum dictis mulcebat Aletes : 
" saepe quidem infelix varioque exercita ludo 
fatorum gens nostra fuit,^ Sidonius ex quo 180 

hospes in Aonios iecit sata ferrea suleos, 
unde novi fetus et formidata colonis 
arva suis. sed nee veteris cum regia Cadmi 
fulmineum in cinerem monitis lunonis iniquae 
consedit, neque funerea cum laude potitus 185 

infelix Athamas trepido de monte veniret, 

^ numeranda w : numerosa P : numerosa ubi funera 

^ fuit P (ruit written over) : ruit w. 

" Lit. " suffering deaths which were (only) for the count- 

THEBAID, III. 160-186 

Nor in the broad glare of battle met ye a glorious 
fate, nor daring deeds ever famous among men did 
ye seek a death whose story might be told to your 
unhappy mother, but obscure ye fell and counting but 
in the tale of deaths " ; alas ! in what streams of blood 
ye lie, unnoticed and unpraised ! I dare not indeed 
sunder your poor embracing arms, or break the union 
of so noble a death ; go, then, and long abide true 
brothers, unparted by the final flames, and mingle 
your loved ashes in the urn ! " 

No less in the meantime do the rest make lament, 
each over their own slain : here doth his wife mourn 
Chthonius, there Astyoche his mother grieves over 
Pentheus, and tender lads, thy offspring, Phaedimus, 
have learnt their father's fate ; Marpessa laves 
Phylleus, her betrothed, and his sisters cleanse the 
blood-stained Acamas. Then with the iron they lay 
bare the woods, and lop the antique crown of the 
neighbouring hill, that knew the secret of the night's 
doings and watched the agony ; there before the 
funeral piles, while each clings to the fire he himself 
has kindled, aged Aletes speaks consoling words to 
tlie unhappy company : " Often indeed has our race 
known sorrow and been racked by the heartless sport 
of Fate, ay, ever since the Sidonian wanderer cast 
the iron seed upon the furrows of Aonia, whence 
came strange growing and fear to the husbandmen 
of their own fields. But neither when old Cadmus' 
palace sank into fiery ashes at cruel Juno's bidding,'' 
nor when hapless Athamas,'' gaining a deadly fame, 
came down from the astonied mount, hahng, alas ! 

ing," numeranda, not memoranda ; they were only two more 
in the list of dead. 

*" See note on ii. 293. " See n. on i. 13. 


ST ATI us 

semianimem heu laeto referens clamore Learchum, 

hie gemitus Thebis, nee tempore clarius illo 

Phoenissae sonuere domus, cum lassa furorem 

vicit et ad eomitum lacrimas expavit Agave. 190 

una dies similis fato specieque malorum 

aequa fuit, qua magniloquos luit impia flatus 

Tantalis, innumeris cum circumfusa ruinis 

corpora tot raperet terra, tot quaereret ignes. 

talis erat vulgi status, et sic urbe relicta 195 

primaevique senesque et longo examine matres 

invidiam planxere deis miseroque tumultu 

bina per ingentes stipabant funera portas. 

meque ipsum memini — necdum aptalaboribus aetas — 

flesse tamen gemituque meos aequasse parentes. 200 

ilia tamen superi. nee quod tibi, Delia, castos 

prolapsum fontes specula temerare profana 

heu dominum insani nihil agnovere Molossi, 

deflerim magis, aut verso quod sanguine fluxit 

in subitos regina lacus : sic dura Sororum 205 

pensa dabant visumque lovi. nunc regis iniqui 

ob noxam immeritos patriae tot culmina cives 

exuimus, nee adhuc calcati foederis Argos 

fama subit, et iam bellorum extrema dolemus. 

quantus equis quantusque viris in pulvere crasso 210 

sudor ! io quanti crudele rubebitis amnes ! 

" Agave slew her son Pentheus unwittingly, under the 
influence of Bacchic frenzy. 

'■ Xiobe, daughter of Tantalus and wife of Amphion, king of 
Thebes. She boasted of her seven sons and seven daughters, 
and was punished by their being all slain by Apollo and 

THEBAID, III. 187-211 

with exultant cries Learehus, nigh a corpse, hath 
such woe come to Thebes ; nor louder then did 
Phoenician homes re-echo, when weary Agave over- 
came her frenzy, and trembled at her comrades' 
tears." One day alone matched this in doom, and 
brought disaster in like shape, that day when the 
impious Tantalid ^ atoned her presumptuous boast- 
ing, when she caught up all those bodies whose 
countless ruin strewed the earth around her, and 
sought for each its funeral flames. As great then 
was our people's woe, and even so from forth the city 
went young and old and mothers flocking, and cried 
out their hearts' bitterness against heaven, and in 
crowding misery thronged the double pyre at each 
mighty gate. I too, so I remember, though my 
years were tender, wept nevertheless, and equalled 
my parents' tears. Yet those ills were heaven-sent ; 
nor would I more lament that the mad Molossian 
hounds knew not their master, when he crept forth 
from his unholy spying-place to profane, O Delia, thy 
chaste fountains, nor that the queen, her blood trans- 
formed, melted suddenly into a lake." Such was the 
hard assignment of the Sisters, and so Jove willed it. 
But now by a cruel monarch's crime have we lost 
these guiltless citizens, so many chiefs of our land ; 
and not yet hath the fame of the spurned covenant 
reached Argos, and already we suffer the extremities 
of war. Alas ! what sweat of toil in the thick dust 
of battle is in store for men and steeds ! alas ! how 
high will ye flow, ye rivers, blushing your cruel red ! 

" The references are to Actaeon and Dirce ; the latter, 
the wife of Lycus, a Theban prince, was changed into the 
fountain of that name. 

VOL. I 2 H 46" 5 


Adderit haec bello viridis manus : ast ego doner 
dum licet igne meo terraqufe insternar avita ! 
haec senior, multumque nefas Eteoclis acervat 
crudelem infandumque vocans poenasque daturum. 
unde ea libertas ? iuxta illi finis et aetas 216 

tota^ retro, seraeque decus velit addere morti. 

Haec sator astrorum iamdudum e vertice mundi 
prospectans primoque imbutas sanguine gentes 
Gradivum acciri propere iubet. ille furentes 220 

Bistonas et Geticas populatus caedibus urbes 
turbidus aetherias currus urgebat ad arces, 
fulmine cristatum galeae iubar armaque in auro 
tristia, terrificis monstrorum animata figuris, 
incutiens : tonat axe polus clipeique cruenta 223 

lux rubet, et solem longe ferit aemulus orbis. 
hunc ubi Sarmaticos etiamnum efflare labores 
luppiter et tota perfusum pectora belli 
tempestate videt : " talis mihi, nate, per Argos, 
talis abi, sic ense madens, hac nubilus ira. 230 

exturbent resides frenos et cuncta^ perosi 
te cupiant, tibi praecipites animasque manusque 
devoveant, rape cunctantes et foedera turba, 
cui dedimus, tibi fas ipsos incendere bello 
caelicolas pacenique meam. iam seniina pugnae 235 
ipse dedi : remeat portans immania Tydeus 
ausa, ducis scelus et, turpis primordia belli, 

^ tota Pw : torta Garrod, from MS. at Peterhouse. 
• cuncta Pw : vincla Bentley. tuta Garrod. 


THEBAID, III. 212-237 

All this will our youth behold, yet green to war ; as 
for me, may I be granted, while it may be, my own 
funeral pyre, and be laid in my ancestral earth ! 
So spoke the aged man, and heaped high the crimes 
of Eteocles, calling him cruel and abominable and 
doomed to punishment. Whence came this freedom 
of speech ? his end was near, and all his life behind 
him, and he would fain add glory to a late-found 

All this the creator of the stars had long observed 
from the summit of the world, and seen the peoples 
stained by the first bloodshed ; then bids he Gradivus 
straight be called. He having laid waste with 
slaughter the wild Bistonian folk and Getic towns 
was driving his chariot in hot haste toward the 
ethereal heights, flashing the splendour of his light- 
ning-crested helm and angry golden armour, alive 
with monstrous shapes of terror ; heaven's vault 
roars thunderous, his shield glows with blood-red 
light and its emulous orb strikes on the sun from far. 
When Jupiter saw that he yet panted with his 
Sarmatic toils, and that all the tempest of war yet 
swayed his breast : " Even as thou art, my son, 
even so hie thee through Argos, Mith thy sword thus 
dripping, in such a cloud of wrath. Let them cast 
off the sloth that curbs them, let them hate all and 
desire but thee, let them in frenzy vow to thee their 
lives and hands ; sweep away the doubting, confound 
all treaties ; thou mayst consume in war — to thee 
have I granted it — even gods themselves, ay, and 
the peace of Jove. Already I have sown the seeds 
of battle : Tydeus, as he returns, brings news of 
monstrous outrages, the monarch's crime, the first 
beginnings of base warfare, the ambush and the 



insidias fraudesque, suis quas ultus in armis. 
adde fidem. vos o superi, meus ordine sanguis, 
ne pugnare odiis, neu me temptare precando 240 

certetis ; sic Fata mihi nigraeque Sororuni 
iuravere^ colus : manet haec ab origine mundi 
fixa dies bello, populique in proelia nati. 
quodni me veterum poenas sancire malorum 
gentibus et diros sinitis punire nepotes — 245 

arcem hanc aeternam, gentis^ sacraria nostrae, 
tester et Elysios, etiam mihi numina, fontes — , 
ipse manu Thebas correptaque moenia fundo 
excutiam versasque solo super Inacha tecta 
effundam turres aut stagna in caerula verram^ 250 
imbre superiecto, licet ipsa in turbine rerum 
luno suos coUes templumque amplexa laboret." 
dixit, et attoniti iussis. mortalia credas 
pectora, sic cuncti vocemque animosque tenebant.^ 
non secus ac longa ventorum pace solutum 255 

aequor et imbelli recubant ubi litora somno, 
silvarumque comas et abacto flamine nubes 
mulcet iners aestas ; tunc stagna lacusque sonori 
detumuere, tacent exusti solibus amnes. 

Gaudet ovans iussis et adhuc temone calenti 260 
fervidus in laevum torsit Gradivus habenas. 
iamque iter extremum caelique abrupta tenebat, 

^ iuravere Pcj : lustravere Servius ad Aen. viii. 409. 

* gentis Lachmann, who cp. Silv. v. 1. 240 aeternae qui 
sacraria genti condidit : mentis Pw, and Garrod, who cp. 
Silv. ii. 2. 131 celsa tu mentis ab arce. 

^ verram P : vertam w. 

* The punctuation is Garrod's : former edd. made mortalia 
. . . pectora a parenthesis : Lachmann read di /or sic. 

" mentis, the mss. reading here, can hardly be right, 
though " celsa tu mentis ab arce " {Silv. ii. 2. 131) is quoted 


THEBAID, III. 238-262 

treachery, which with his own weapons he avenged. 
Add thou credence to his tale. And you, ye gods, 
scions of my blood, indulge no angry strife, no 
rivalry to win me by entreaties ; thus have the 
Fates sworn to me, and the dark spindles of the 
Sisters : this day abides from the beginning of the 
world ordained for war, these peoples are destined 
to battle from their birth. But if ye suffer me not 
to exact solemn vengeance for their sins of old, and 
to punish their dreadful progeny — I call to witness 
these everlasting heights, our race's holy shrine,* and 
the Elysian streams that even I hold sacred — with 
my own arm will I destroy Thebes and shatter her 
walls to their foundations, and cast out upon the 
Inachian dwellings her uprooted towers, or else pour 
down my rain upon them and sweep them into the 
blue depths, ay, though Juno's self should embrace 
her hills and temple, and toil amid the chaos." 

He spoke, and they were spellbound at his com- 
mands. Mortal in mind thou hadst deemed them, 
so curbed they one and all their voice and spirit. 
Even as when a long truce of winds has calmed the 
sea, and the shores lie wrapt in peaceful slumber, 
indolent summer sets her spell upon forest leaves 
and clouds, and drives the breezes far ; then on 
lakes and sounding meres the swelling waters sink 
to rest, and rivers fall silent 'neath the sun's scorching 

Exulting with joy at these commands, and glowing 
yet with his chariot's burning heat, Gradivus left- 
ward swung the reins ; soon he was gaining his 
journey's end and the steeps of heaven, when Venus 

in its defence. " Elysian streapis " : i.e., Styx, a river of 
the underworld, 



cum Venus ante ipsos nulla formidine gressum 
figit equos ; cessere retro iamiamque rigentes 
suppliciter posuere iubas. tunc pectora summo 265 
adclinata iugo voltumque obliqua madenteni 
incipit — interea dominae vestigia iuxta 
spumantem proni mandunt adamanta iugales — : 
" bella etiam in Thebas, socer o pulcherrime, bella 
ipse paras ferroque tuos abolere nepotes ? 270 

nee genus Harmoniae nee te conubia caelo 
festa nee hae quicquam lacrimae, furibunde, moran- 

tur ? 
criminis haec merces ? hoc fama pudorque relictus, 
hoc mihi Lemniacae de te meruere catenae ? 
perge libens ; at non eadem Volcania nobis 275 

obsequia, et laesi servit tamen ira mariti ! 
ilium ego perpetuis mihi desudare caminis 
si iubeam vigilesque operi transmittere noctes, 
gaudeat ornatusque novos ipsique laboret 
arma tibi ; tu — sed scopulos et aena precando 280 
flectere corda paro ; solum hoc tamen anxia, solum 
obtestor, quid me Tyrio sociare marito 
progeniem caram infaustisque dabas hymenaeis ? 
dum fore praeclaros armis et vivida rebus 
pectora vipereo Tyrios de sanguine iactas 285 

demissumque Io\'is serie genus, a ! mea quanto 
Sithonia mallem nupsisset virgo sub Arcto 
trans Borean Thracasque tuos. indigna parumne 
pertulimus, divae Veneris quod filia longum 
reptat et lUyricas deiectat virus in herbas ? 290 

" i.e., the people of Thebes, which was founded by Cadmus, 
whose wife she was. 


THEBAID, III. 263-290 

unafraid stood in his horses' very path ; backward 
they gave place, and e'en now have drooped their thick 
manes in suppHant wise to earth. Then leaning her 
bosom on the yoke, and with sidelong tearful glance 
she begins — meanwhile bowed at their mistress' feet 
the horses champ the foaming steel : " War even 
against Thebes, O noble father, war dost thou thyself 
prepare, and the sword's destruction for all thy race ? 
And does not Harmonia's offspring,** nor heaven's 
festal day of wedlock, nor these tears of mine, thou 
madman, give thee one moment's pause ? Is this 
thy reward for my misdoing ? Is this the guerdon 
that the Lemnian chains and scandal's tongue and 
loss of honour have won for me at thy hands ? 
Proceed then as thou wilt ; far different service does 
Vulcan pay me, and even an injured husband's 
wrath yet does my bidding. If I were to bid him 
sweat in endless toil of furnaces and pass unsleeping- 
nights of labour, he would rejoice and work at arms 
and at new accoutrements, yea, even for thee ! 
Thou — but I essay to move rocks and a heart of 
bronze by praying ! — yet this sole request, this only 
do I make in anxious fear : why didst thou have me 
join our beloved daughter to a Tyrian husband in 
ill-omened wedlock ? ^ And boast the while that the 
Tyrians, of dragon stock and direct lineage of Jove, 
would win renown in arms and show hearts keen and 
alive for action ? Ah ! would rather our maiden had 
married beneath the Sithonian pole, beyond Boreas 
and thy Thracians ! Have I not suffered wrong 
enough, that my daughter crawls her length upon 
the ground, and spews poison on the Illyrian grass .'' 

* i.e., Harmonia, wife of Cadmus, son of Agenor, king of 


ST ATI us 

nunc gentem immeritam — " lacrimas non pertulit 

Bellipotens, hastam laeva transumit et alto, 
haud mora, desiluit curru, clipeoque receptam 
laedit in amplexu dictisque ita mulcet amicis : 

" O mihi bellorum requies et sacra voluptas 295 
unaque pax animo ! soli cui tanta potestas 
divorumque hominumque meis occui'rere telis 
impune et media quamvis in caede frementes 
hos adsistere equos, hunc ensem avellere dextrae. 
nee mihi Sidonii genialia foedera Cadmi 300 

nee tua cara fides — ne falsa incessere gaude ! — - 
exciderunt : prius in patrui deus infera mergar 
stagna et pallentes agar exarmatus ad umbras, 
sed nunc fatorum monitus mentemque supremi 
iussus obire patris — neque enim Vulcania tali 305 
imperio manus apta legi — , quo pectore contra 
ire lovem dictasque parem contemnere leges, 
cui modo — pro vires ! — terras caelumque fretumque 
adtremere oranti tantosque ex ordine vidi 
delituisse deos ? sed ne mihi corde supremos 310 

concipe, cara, metus ! quando haec mutare potestas 
nulla datur — cum iam Tyriis sub moenibus ambae 
bellabunt gentes, adero et socia arma iuvabo. 
tunc me sanguineo late defervere^ campo 
res super Argolicas haud sic deiecta videbis ; 315 

hoc mihi ius, nee fata vetant." sic orsus aperto 
flagrantes immisit equos. non ocius alti 
in teiTas cadit ira lovis, si quando nivalem 
Othryn et Arctoae geUdum caput institit Ossae 
arma\"itque in nube manum : volat ignea moles 320 

^ late deferv'ere Pw : bellantem fervere conj. Garrod. 

THEBAID, III. 291-320 

but now her innocent race — " no longer could the 
Lord of war endure her teai-s, but changed his spear 
to his left hand, and in a moment leapt from the 
lofty car, and clasping her to his shield hurt her in 
liis embrace, and with loving words thus soothes her : 
" O thou who art my repose from battle, my sacred 
joy and all the peace my heart doth know : thou 
who alone of gods and men canst face my arms 
unpunished, and check even in mid-slaughter my 
neighing steeds, and tear this sword from my right 
hand ! neither the marriage-bond of Sidonian Cadmus 
have I forgotten, nor thy dear loyalty — rejoice not 
in false accusing ! — may I be rather plunged, god 
though I be, in my uncle's infernal lakes, and be 
hunted weaponless to the pale shades ! But now 
'tis the Fates' behests and the high Father's purpose 
I am bid perform — no fit choice were Vulcan's arm 
for such an errand ! — and how can I dare face Jove 
or go about to spurn his spoken decree, Jove, at 
whose word — such power is his ! — I saw of late earth 
and sky and ocean tremble, and mighty gods, one 
and all, seek hiding ? But, dear one, let not thy 
heart be sore afraid, I pray thee — these things no 
power can change ; and when soon beneath the 
Tyrian walls both races are making war, I will be 
present and help our kindred arms. Then with 
happier mien shalt thou behold me descending in 
fury upon the Argive fortunes far and wide over the 
bloody plain ; this is my right, nor do the fates 
forbid it." So speaking, he drove on through the 
open air his flaming steeds. No swifter falls upon 
the earth the anger of Jove, whene'er he stands on 
snowy Othrys or the cold peak of northern Ossa, 
and plucks a weapon from the cloud ; fast flies the 



saeva dei mandata ferens, caelumque trisulca 
territat omne coma iamduduni aut ditibus agris 
signa dare aut ponto miseros involvere nautas. . 

lamque remensus iter fesso Danaeia Tydeus 
arva gradu viridisque legit devexa Prosymnae 325 
terribilis visu : stant fulti pulvere crines, 
squalidus ex umeris cadit alta in vulnera sudor, 
insomnesque oculos rubor excitat, oraque retro 
solvit^ anhela sitis ; mens altum spirat lionorem 
conscia factorum. sic nota in pascua taurus 330 

bellator redit, adverso cui colla suoque 
sanguine proscissisque natant palearibus armi ; 
tunc quoque lassa tumet virtus multumque superbit 
pectore despecto^ ; vacua iacet hostis harena 
turpe gemens crudosque vetat sentire labores. 335 
talis erat ; medias etiam non destitit urbes, 
quidquid et Asopon veteresque interiacet Argos, 
inflammare odiis, multumque et ubique retexens 
legatum sese Graia de gente petendis 
isse^ super regnis profugi Polynicis, at inde 340 

vim, noctem ; scelus, arma, dolos, ea foedera passum 
regis Echionii ; fratri sua iura negari. 
prona fides populis ; deus omnia credere suadet 
Armipotens, geminatque acceptos fama pavores. 

Utque introgressus portas — et forte verendus 345 
concilio pater ipse duces cogebat Adrastus — 

^ solvit P : sorbet w. 

^ pectore despecto Pa;: despecto pecore, at conj. Garrod: 
despectus Baehrens. 

^ isse PDN : esse w (c/. i. 475). 

° Literally " and terrifies all the heaven so that it gives 
signs " ; the infinitive is best explained as following " territat " 
by analogy with " cogit " ; " territat," therefore, is equivalent 


THEBAID, III. 321-346 

fiery bolt, bearing the god's stern command, and all 
heaven, affrighted at its threefold trail, soon threatens 
with ominous signs the fruitful fields or overwhelms 
unhappy sailors in the deep." 

And now Tydeus on his homeward way passes with 
weary step through the Danaan lands and down the 
slopes of green Prosymna ; terrible is he to behold : 
his hair stands thick with dust, from his shoulders 
filthy sweat drips into his deep wounds, his sleepless 
eyes are raw and red, and gasping thirst has made 
his face drawn and sunken ; but his spirit, conscious 
of his deeds, breathes lofty pride. So does a warrior 
bull return to his well-known pastures, with neck and 
shoulders and torn dewlaps streaming with his foe's 
blood and his own ; then too doth weary valour 
swell high, filled with pride, as he looks down upon his 
breast ; his enemy lies on the deserted sand, groan- 
ing, dishonoured, and forbids him to feel his cruel 
pains. Such was he, nor failed he to inflame with 
hatred the midway towns, all that lie between Asopos 
and ancient Argos, renewing everywhere and oft the 
tale, how he had gone on embassy from a Grecian 
people to claim the realm of exiled Polynices, but 
had endured violence, night crime, arms, treachery, 
— such was the Echionian monarch's plighted faith ; 
to his brother he denied his due rights. The folk 
are swift to believe him ; the Lord of Arms inclines 
them to credit all, and, once welcomed. Rumour 
redoubles fear. 

When he entered within the gates — and it hap- 
pened that the revered sire Adrastus was himself 
summoning his chiefs to council — he appears all 

to "terrore cogit." Such uses of analogy are very charac- 
teristic of Statius. 



inprovisus adest, iam illinc a postibus aulae 

vociferans : " arma, arma viri, tuque optime Lernae 

ductor, magnanimum si quis tibi sanguis avorum, 

arma para ! nusquam pietas, non gentibus aequum 350 

fas aut cura^ lovis ; melius legatus adissem 

Sauromatas rabidos^ servatoremque cruentum 

Bebryeii nemoris, nee iussa incuso pigetve 

officii : iuvat isse, iuvat, Thebasque nocentes 

explorasse manu ; bello me, credite, bello, 355 

ceu turrem validam aut artam compagibus urbem, 

delecti insidiis instructique omnibus armis 

nocte doloque viri nudum ignarumque locorum 

nequiquam elausere ; iacent in sanguine mixti 359 

ante urbem vacuam. nunc o, nunc tempus in hostes, 

dum trepidi exsanguesque metu, dum funera portant, 

nunc, socer, haec dum non^ manus excidit ; ipse ego 


quinquaginta illis heroum immanibus umbris 

vulneraque ista ferens putri insiccata cruore 

protinus ire peto ! " trepidi de sedibus adstant 365 

Inachidae, cunctisque prior Cadmeius heros 

accurrit vultum deiectus et " o ego divis 

invisus vitaeque nocens haec vulnera cerno 

integer ! hosne mihi reditus, germane, parabas ? 

in me haec tela mei* ! pro vitae foeda cupido ! 370 

^ aut cura w : auctura P : aut iura L and Garrod. 
- rabidos Wakefield (feroces Schol. of D) : avidos Pw. 
^ nunc socer haec dum non P : dum capulo nondum w 
(nondum haec ccmj. Garrod). * mei P : dabas w. 

" As often, for Argos. 

* Where Amycus, king of the Bebryeii, fought all strangers 

THEBAID, III. 347-370 

unexpectedly, and from the very portals of the 
palace cries aloud : " To arms, to arms, ye men, and 
thou, most worthy ruler of Lerna," if thou hast the 
blood of thy brave ancestors, to arms ! Natural ties, 
justice, and reverence for Jove have perished from 
the world ! Better had I gone an envoy to the wild 
Sauromatae, or the blood-stained warden of the 
Bebrycian grove.^ I blame not thy commands, nor 
regret my errand ; glad am I that I went, yea glad, 
and that my hand has probed the guilt of Thebes. 
'Twas war, believe me, war ! like a strong tower or 
city stoutly fortified was I beset, all defenceless and 
ignorant of my path, treacherously at night, by a 
picked ambuscade armed to the teeth, ay, but in 
vain ! — they lie there in their own blood, before a 
city desolated ! Now, now is the time to march 
against the foe, while they are struck by panic and 
and pale with fear, while they are bringing in the 
corpses, now, sire, while this right arm is not yet 
forgotten." I myself even, wearied by the slaughter 
of those fifty warriors, and bearing the wounds ye 
see still running with foul gore, beg to set forth upon 
the instant ! " In alarm the sons of Inachus start 
up from their seats, and before them all the Cadmean 
hero runs forward with downcast countenance : " Ah ! 
hated of the gods and guilty that I am ! do I see 
these wounds, myself unharmed ? Is this, then, the 
return thou hadst in store for me, brother ? An:i I the 
mark, then, of my kinsman's weapons ? Ah ! shame- 

and slew those whom he defeated, until he was himself slain 
by Pollux. 

'^ " excidit," sc. " memoria " as in 1. 302. It is easier to 
suppose that this was not understood and " capulo " therefore 
inserted and " nunc socer " dropped than to account for the 
latter replacing "capulo." 



infelix, fratri facinus tarn grande negavi. 
et nunc vestra quidem maneant in pace quieta^ 
moenia, nee vobis tanti sim causa tumultus 
hospes adhue. scio — nee me adeo res dextra levavit— , 
quam durum natis, thalamo quam triste revelli, 375 
quam patria ; non me ullius domus anxia culpet 
respectentve truces obliquo lumine matres. 
ibo libens certusque mori, licet optima coniunx 
auditusque iterum revocet socer ; hunc ego Thebis, 
hunc, germane, tibi iugulum et tibi, maxime Tydeu, 
debeo." sic variis pertemptat pectora dictis 381 

obliquatque preces. commotae questibus irae 
et mixtus lacrimis caluit dolor ; omnibus ultro 
non iuvenum modo, sed gelidis et inertibus aevo 
pectoribus mens una subit, viduare penates, 385 

finitimas adhibere manus, iamque ire. sed altus 
consiliis pater imperiique baud flectere molem 
inscius : " ista quidem superis curaeque medenda^ 
linquite, quaeso, meae, nee te germanus inulto 
sceptra geret, neque nos avidi promittere bellum. 390 
at nunc egregium tantoque in sanguine ovantem 
excipite Oeniden, animosaque pectora laxet 
sera quies : nobis dolor baud rationis egebit." 
Turbati extemplo comites et pallida coniunx 
Tydea circum omnes fessum bellique viaeque 395 
stipantur. laetus mediis in sedibus aulae 
constitit, ingentique exceptus terga columna, 
vulnera dum lymphis Epidaurius eluit Idmon, 

^ quieta P : serena w. 
^ medenda w : medentia P : medenti Garrod. 

" For "auditus " with noun, simply meaning " the voice 
of," see ii. 54, ii. 455, v. 94. The word has been unnecessarily 


THEBAID, III. 371-398 

ful lust of life ! Unhappy I, to have spared my 
brother so great a crime ! Let now your walls at 
least abide in tranquil peace ; let me not, who am 
still your guest, bring on you such tumult. I know 
— so hardly has fate dealt with me — how cruel it is, 
how sad to be torn from children, wife, and country ; 
let no one's anxious home reproach me, nor mothers 
fling at me sidelong glances ! Gladly will I go, and 
resolved to die, ay, though my loyal spouse call me 
back, and her father's voice * once more plead with 
me. This life of mine I owe to Thebes, to thee, O 
brother, and to thee, great Tydeus ! " Thus with 
varied speech he tries their hearts and naakes dis- 
sembling prayer. His complaints stir their Mrath, 
and they Avax hot in tearful indignation ; spon- 
taneously in every heart, not only of the young, 
but of those whom age has made cold and slow to 
action, one purpose rises, to leave desolate their 
homes, to bring in neighbouring bands, and then to 
march. But the deep-counselling sire, well-versed 
in the government of a mighty realm : " Leave that, 
I pray you, to the gods and to my wisdom to set 
aright ; thy brother shall not reign unpunished, nor 
are we eager to promise war. But for the present 
receive this noble son of Oeneus, who comes in 
triumph from such bloodshed, and let long-sought 
repose calm his warlike spirit. For our part, grief 
shall not lack its share of reason." 

Straightway his comrades and anxious wife bestir 
tliemselves in haste, all thronging round the way- 
worn and battle- weary Tydeus. Joyfully in mid-hall 
he takes his seat, and leans his back against a huge 
pillar, while Epidaurian Idmon cleanses his wounds 



nunc velox ferro, nunc ille tepentibus^ herbis 
mitior, ipse alta seductus mente renarrat 400 

principia irarum, quaeque orsus uterque vicissim, 
quis locus insidiis, tacito quae tempora bello, 
qui contra quantique duces, ubi maximus illi 
sudor, et indicio servatum Maeona tristi 
exponit. cui fida manus proceresque socerque 405 
adstupet oranti, Tyriusque incenditur exsul. 

Solverat Hesperii devexo margine ponti 
flagrantes Sol pronus equos rutilamque lavabat 
Oceani sub fonte comam, cui turba profundi 
Nereos et rapidis adcurrunt passibus Horae, 410 

frenaque et auratae textum sublime coronae 
deripiunt, laxant calidis^ umentia loris 
pectora ; pars meritos vertunt ad molle iugales 
gramen et erecto currum temone supinant. 
nox subiit curasque hominum motusque ferarum 415 
composuit nigroque polos involvit amictu, 
ilia quidem cunctis, sed non tibi mitis, Adraste, 
Labdacioque duci : nam Tydea largus habebat 
perfusum magna virtutis imagine somnus. 
et lam noctivagas inter deus armifer umbras 420 

desuper Arcadiae fines Nemeaeaque rura 
Taenariumque cacumen Apollineasque Therapnas 
armorum tonitru ferit et trepidantia corda 
implet amore sui. comunt Furor Iraque cristas, 
frena ministrat equis Pavor armiger. at vigil omni 425 

^ tepentibus P : potentibus w. ^ calidis P : roseis w. 

" i.e., Polynices. 
* Theban, from Labdacus, grandfather of Oedipus. 


THEBAID, III. 399-425 

with water — Idmon, now swift to ply the knife, now 
gentler with warm juice of herbs ; — he himself, with- 
drawn into his mind's deep brooding, tells over the 
beginning of the deeds of wrath, the words each 
spoke in turn, the place of ambush, and the time of 
secret battle, what chieftains and how great were 
matched against him, and where most he laboured, 
and he relates how Maeon was preserved to take the 
sad tidings. The faithful company, the princes and 
his wife's sire, are spellbound at his words, and wrath 
inflames the Tyrian exile.*^ 

Far on the sloping margin of the western sea the 
sinking Sun had unyoked his flaming steeds, and 
laved their bright manes in the springs of Ocean ; 
to meet him hastens Nereus of the deep and all his 
company, and the swift-striding Hours, who strip 
him of his reins and the woven glory of his golden 
coronet, and relieve his horses' dripping breasts of 
the hot harness ; some turn the well-deserving steeds 
into the soft pasture, and lean the chariot backward, 
pole in air. Night then came on, and laid to rest 
the cares of men and the prowlings of wild beasts, 
and wrapped the heavens in her dusky shroud, 
coming to all with kindly influence, but not to thee, 
Adrastus, nor to the Labdacian prince ^ ; for Tydeus 
was held by generous slumber, steeped in dreams of 
valiant prow'ess. And now amid the night- wandering 
shades the god of battle from on high made to re- 
sound with the thunder of arms the Nemean fields 
and Arcady from end to end, and tlie height of 
Taenarum and Therapnae favoured of Apollo, and 
filled excited hearts with passion for himself. Fury 
and Wrath make trim his crest, and Panic, his own 
squire, handles his horses' reins. But Rumour, awake 

VOL. I 2 1 481 


Fama sono vanos rerum succincta tumultus 
antevolat currum flatuque impulsa gementum 
alipedum trepidas denso cum murmure plumas 
excutit : urget enini stimulis auriga cruentis 
facta, infecta loqui, curruque infestus ab alto 430 

terga comamque deae Scythica pater increpat hasta. 
qualis ubi Aeolio dimissos carcere Ventos 
dux prae se Neptunus agit magnoque volentes 
incitat Aegaeo ; tristis comitatus eunti 
circum lora fremunt Nimbique Hiemesque profundae 
Nubilaque et vulso terrarum sordida fundo 436 

Tempestas : dubiae motis radicibus obstant 
Cyclades, ipsa tua Mycono Gyaroque revelli, 
Dele, times magnique fidem testai-is alumni. 

Septima iam nitidum terris Aurora deisque 440 
purpureo veliit ore diem, Perseius heros 
cum primum arcana senior sese extulit aula, 
multa super bello generisque tumentibus aniens 
incertusque animi, daret armis iura novosque 
gentibus^ incuteret stimulos, an frena teneret 445 
irarum et motos capulis adstringeret enses. 
hinc pacis tranquilla movent, atque inde pudori 
foeda quies, flectique nova dulcedine pugnae 
difficiles populi ; dubio sententia tandem 
sera placet, vatum mentes ac provida veri 450 

sacra movere deum. sollers tibi cura futui'i, 

^ gentibus Pw : mentibus K. 

« Bellona, cf. vii. 73, 

" Mars. 

<^ Delos, formerly a floating island, was made fastened 
to Myconos and Gyaros and made stationary, when Leto 
was about to give birth to Apollo and Artemis on it. 


THEBAID, III. 42(5-451 

to every sound and girt with empty tidings of 
tumult, flies before the chariot, sped onward by the 
\\ inged steeds' panting breath, and with loud whirring 
shakes out her fluttering plumes ; for the cliarioteer * 
with blood-stained goad urges her to speak, be it 
truth or falsehood, while threatening from the lofty 
car the sire ** with Scythian lance assails the back and 
tresses of the goddess. Even so their chieftain 
Neptune drives before him the Winds set free from 
Aeolus' cell, and speeds them willing over the wide 
Aegean ; in his train Storms and high-piled Tempests, 
a surly company, clamour about his reins, and Clouds 
and the dark Hurricane torn from earth's rent bowels ; 
wavering and shaken to their foundations the Cyclades 
stem the blast ; even thou, Delos, fearest to be torn 
away from thy Myconos and Gyaros, and entreatest 
tlie protection of thy mighty son/ 

And now the seventh Dawn with shining face was 
bearing bright day to earth and heaven, when the 
Persean hero '^ first came forth from the private 
chamber of his palace, distracted by thought of war 
and the princes' swelling ambition, and perplexed in 
mind, whether to give sanction and stir anew the 
rival peoples, or to hold tight the reins of anger and 
fasten in their sheaths tlie restless swords. On the one 
side he is moved by the thought of tranquil peace, 
on the other by the shame of dishonoured quiet and 
the hard task of turning a people from war's new 
glamour ; in his doubt this late resolve at last finds 
favour, to try the mind of prophets and the true 
presaging of the sacred rites. To thy wisdom, 

'^ Adrastus; " Persean " here, as in i. 225, means Argive, 
because Perseus was son of Danae, daughter of Acrisius, 
king of Argos. 



Ampliiarac, datur. iuxtaque Amythaone cretus 
iam senior — sed mente viret Phoeboque — Melampus 
adsociat passus : dubium, cui pronus^ Apollo 
oraque Cirrhaea satiarit largius unda. 455 

principio fibris pecudumque in sanguine divos 
explorant ; iam tunc pavidis maculosa bidentum 
corda negant diraque nefas minitantia vena, 
ire tamen vacuoque sedet petere omina caelo. 

Mons erat audaci seductus in aethera dorso — 460 
nomine Lernaei memorant Aphesanta coloni — , 
gentibus Argolicis olim sacer ; inde ferebant 
nubila suspense celerem temerasse volatu 
Persea, cum raptos pueri perterrita mater 
prospexit de rupe gradus ac paene secuta est. 465 
hue gemini vates sanctam canentis olivae 
fronde comam et niveis ornati tempora vittis 
evadunt pariter, madidos ubi lucidus agros 
ortus et algentes laxavit sole pruinas. 
ac prior Oeclides solitum prece numen amicat : 470 
" luppiter omnipotens — nam te pernicibus alis 
addere consilium volucresque implere futuri 
ominaque et causas caelo deferre latentes 
accipimus — , non Cirrha deum promiserit antro 
certius, aut frondes lucis quas fama Molossis 475 

Chaonias sonuisse tibi : licet aridus Hammon 
invideat Lyciaeque parent contendere sortes 

^ pronus P : dexter w : pectora Bentley. 

" Perseus was given wings to enable him to fly, when he 
slew the Gorgon Medusa. 

* i.e., Amphiaraus, son of Oecleus. 

" The oracles referred to are those of Apollo at Delphi, 


THEBAID, III. 452-477 

Arnphiaraus, is given the charge to read tlie future, 
and with thee Melampus, son of Aniythaon — an old 
man now, but fresh in vigour of mind and Phoebus' 
inspiration — bears company ; 'tis doubtful which 
Apollo more favours, or whose mouth he has sated 
with fuller draughts of Cirrha's waters. At first 
they try the gods with entrails and blood of cattle : 
even then the spotted hearts of sheep and the dread 
veins threatening disaster portend refusal to the 
timorous seers. Yet they resolve to go and seek 
omens in the open sky. 

A mount there was, with bold ridge rising far 
aloft — the dwellers in Lerna call it Aphesas — sacred 
of yore to Argive folk : for thence they say swift 
Perseus " profaned the clouds with hovering flight, 
when from the cliff his mother terror-stricken beheld 
the boy's high-soaring paces, and well nigh sought 
to follow. Hither the prophets twain, their sacred 
locks adorned with leaves of the grey olive and their 
temples decked with snow-white fillets, side by side 
ascend, when the sun rising bright has melted the 
cold hoarfrost on the humid fields. And first 
Oeclides '' seeks with prayer the favour of the 
wonted deity : " Almighty Jupiter, — for thou, as we 
are taught, impartest counsel to swift wings, and dost 
fill the birds with futurity, and bring to light the 
omens and causes that lurk in mid-heaven, — not 
Cirrha " can more surely vouchsafe the inspiration 
of her grotto, nor those Chaonian leaves that 
are famed to rustle at thy bidding in Molossian 
groves : though arid Hammon envy, and the 
Lycian oracle contend in rivalry, and the beast of 

Zeus at Dodona, Zeus Amnion in Libya, Apollo in Lycia, 
Apis in Egypt, Branchus (son of Apollo] at xMiletus. 



Niliacumque pecus patrioque aequalis^ honori 
Branchus, et undosae qiiem^ rusticus accola Pisae 
Pana Lycaonia nocturnum exaudit in umbra, 480 
ditior ille animi, cui tu, Dictaee, secundas 
impuleris manifestus aves. mirum unde, sed olim^ 
hie honor alitibus, superae seu conditor aulae 
sic dedit effusum chaos in nova semina texens, 
seu quia mutatae nostraque ab origine versis 485 

corporibus subiere notes, seu purior axis 
amotumque nefas et rarum insistere terris 
vera decent ; tibi, summe sater terraeque deumque, 
scire licet, nos Argohcae primordia pugnae 
venturumque sinas caele praenosse laborem. 490 

si datur et duris ^jedet haec sententia Parcis 
solvere Echienias Lernaea cuspide portas, 
signa feras laevusque tones ; tunc omnis in astris 
consonet arcana velucris bona murmura lingua. 
si prehibes, hie necte moras dextrisque prefundum 495 
alitibus praetexe diem." sic fatus, et alte 
membra leeat seopulo ; tune plura ignetaque iungit 
numina et immensi fruitur caligine mundi. 
Pestquam rite diu partiti sidera cunctis 
perlegere animis oculisque sequacibus auras, 500 

tune Amythaonius longe post tempore vates : 
" nonne sub exeelso spirantis limite caeli, 
Amphiarae, vides, eursus ut nulla serenos 

^ aequalis Pw : aequatus Schol. Theb. viii. 198. 

^ quern Mueller : qui Pw. 

^ olim w: olims (olis) P : olimst Mueller: olim est Gar rod. 

" Jupiter was born on Mt. Dicte in Crete, according to 
one legend. 

THEBAID, III. 478-503 

Nile, and Branchus, whose honour is equal to his 
sire's, and Pan, whom the rustic dweller in wave- 
beat Pisa hears nightly beneath the Lycaonian 
shades, more richly blest in mind is he, for whom 
thou, O Dictaean," dost guide the favouring flights 
that show thy will. Mysterious is the cause, yet of 
old has this honour been paid to the birds, whether 
the Founder of the heavenly abode thus ordained, 
when he wrought the vast expanse of Chaos into 
fresh seeds of things ; or because the birds went forth 
upon the breezes with bodies transformed and 
changed from shapes that once were oui's ; or because 
tliey learn truth from the purer heaven, where error 
comes not, and alight but rarely on the earth : 'tis 
known to thee, great sire of earth and of the gods. 
Grant that we may have foreknowledge from the 
sky of the beginnings of the Argive struggle and the 
contest that is to come. If it is appointed and the 
stern Fates are Set in this resolve, that the Lernaean 
spear shall shatter the Echionian gates, show signs 
thereof and thunder leftward ; then let every bird 
in heaven join in propitious melody of mystic lan- 
guage. If thou dost forbid, then weave delays, and on 
the right shroud with winged creatures the abyss of 
day." So spoke he, and settled his limbs upon a 
high rock ; then to his prayer he adds more deities 
and deities unknown, and holds converse with the 
dark mysteries of the illimitable heaven. 

When they had duly parted out the heavens and 
long scanned the air with keen attention and quick- 
following vision, at last the Amythaonian seer : 
" Seest thou not, Amphiaraus, how beneath the 
breathing sky's exalted bounds no winged creature 
travels on a course serene, nor hangs aloft, en- 



ales agat liquidoque polum complexa ineatu 
pendeat aut fugiens placabile planxerit omen ? 505 
non comes obscurus tripodum, non fulminis ardens 
vector adest, flavaeque sonans avis unca Minervae, 
non venit auguriis melior ; quin^ vultur et altis 
desuper accipitres exsultavere rapinis. 
nionstra volant, dirae stridunt in nube volucres, 510 
nocturnaeque gemunt striges et feralia bubo 
damna canens. quae prima deum portenta sequamur? 
hisne dari, Thymbraee, polum ? simul ora recurvo 
ungue secant rabidae planctumque imitantibus alis 
exagitant zephyros et plumea pectora caedunt." 515 
ille sub haec : " equidem varii, pater, omina Phoebi 
saepe tuli : iam tum, prima cum pube virentem 
semideos inter pinus me Thessala reges 
duceret, liic casus terraeque marisque canentem 
obstipuere duces, nee me ventura locuto 520 

sacpius in dubiis auditus lasoni Mopsus. 
sed similis non ante metus aut^ astra^ notavi 
prodigiosa magis ; quamquam maiora parantur. 
hue adverte animum : clara regione profundi 
aetheros innumeri statuerunt agmina cygni, 525 

sive hos Strymonia Boreas eiecit ab Arcto, 
seu fecunda refert placidi dementia Xili.* 
fixerunt cursus : has rere in imagine Thebas ; 
nam sese immoti gyro atque in pace silentes 
eeu muris valloque tenent. sed fortior ecce 530 

^ quin Bernartius {from a its.) : qui Pw. 

^ aut Poj : tamen I). 

^ astra Pw : monstra Mueller : signa Slater, etc., hut astra 
= caelum. * Nili w : caeli P. 

" The raven (bird of Apollo), the eagle (of Jupiter), and 
the owl. 

" Apollo was worshipped at ThymVjra, in the Troad. 
•^ The Argo, which started from lolcos in Thessalj'. 


THEBAID, III. 004-530 

circling tlie pole in liciiiid flight, nor as it speeds 
along utters a cry of peaceful import ? No dark 
companion of the tripod," nor fiery bearer of 
the thunderbolt is here, and fair-haired Minerva's 
hooting bird with the hooked beak comes not with 
better augury ; but hawks and vultures exult on 
high over their airy plunder. Monstrous creatures 
are flying, and direful birds clamour in the clouds, 
nocturnal screech-owls cry, and the horned owl with 
its dismal funeral chant. What celestial portents 
are we to follow first ? must we take these as lords 
of the sky, O Thymbraean '^ f Even now in frenzy do 
they tear each other's faces with crooked talons, and 
lash the breezes with pinions that seem to smite the 
bosom, and assail their feathery breasts." The other 
in reply : " Oft indeed, father, have I read omens 
of various sort from Phoebus. Yea, when in my 
vigorous youth the pinewood barque of Thessaly " 
bore me in company of princes half-divine, even then 
did the chieftains listen spellbound to my chant of 
what should befall us on land and sea, nor Mopsus' 
self was hearkened to more often by Jason in per- 
plexity than my presagings of the future. But never 
ere this day felt I such terror, or observed prodigies 
so dire in heaven ; yet happenings more awful are 
in store. Look hither then : in this clear region of 
profound aether numberless swans have marshalled 
their ranks, whether Boreas has driven them from 
the Strymonian North, or the benignant fostering 
air of placid Nile recalls them. They have stopped 
their flight : these deem thou in fancy to be Thebes, 
for they hold themselves motionless in a circle and 
are silent and at peace, as though enclosed by 
walls and rampart. But lo ! a more valiant cohort 



adventat per inane coliors ; septem ordine fulvo 
armigeras summi lovis exsultante catei'va 
intuor : Inachii sint lii tibi, concipe, reges. 
invasere globuni nivei gregis uncaque pandunt 
caedibus ora novis et strictis unguibus instant. 535 
cernis inexperto rorantes sanguine ventos, 
et plumis stillare diem ? quae saeva repente 
victores agitat leto lovis ira sinistri ? 
hie excelsa petens subita face solis inarsit 
submisitque animos, ilium vestigia adortum 540 

maiorum volucrum tenerae deponitis alae. 
hie hosti implicitus pariter ruit, hunc fuga retro 
volvit agens sociae linquentem fata catervae. 
hie nimbo glomeratus obit, hie praepete viva 
paseitur immoriens ; spai-git cava nubila sanguis." 545 
" quid furtim inlacrimas ? " " ilium, venerande Me- 

qui cadit, agnosco." trepidos sic mole futuri 
cunctaque iam rerum certa sub imagine passos 
terror habet vates ; piget inrupisse volantum 
concilia et caelo mentem insertasse vetanti, 550 

auditique odere deos. — unde iste per orbem 
primus venturi miseris animantibus aeger 
crevit amor ? divumne feras hoc munus, an ipsi, 
gens avida et parto non umquam stare quieti, 

'^ i.e., eagles, " ministers of the thunderbolt." 

* In the following lines the fate of the Seven is foreshown, 
first Capaneus, then Parthenopaeus, Polynices, Adrastus, 
Hippomedon, Tydeus : finally Amphiaraus sees his own fate. 

•^ "tenerae " shows that Parthenopaeus is meant here. 

"* This is the only instance in the Thihaid of a change of 
speaker without introductory words {e.g., he said) ; I have 
kept the traditional punctuation, though it would be quite 
possible to give " quid," etc., to Amphiaraus, and not make 


THEBAID, III. 531-554 

advances through the empty air ; a tawny hne of 
seven birds that bear the weapons of Jupiter supreme** 
I see, an exultant band ; suppose that in these thou 
hast the Inachian princes. They have flung them- 
selves on the circle of the snow-white flock, and open 
wide their hooked beaks for fresh slaughter, and with 
talons unsheathed press on to the attack. Seest 
thou tlie breezes dripping unwonted blood, and the 
air raining feathers ? What sudden fierce anger of 
unpropitious Jove is driving the victors to destruc- 
tion ? This one ^ soaring to the height is consumed 
by the sun's quick fire, and lays down liis proud spirit, 
that other, bold in pursuit of mightier birds, you let 
sink, ye still frail pinions." This one falls grappling 
with his foe, that one is swept backward by the rout 
and leaves his company to their fate. This one a 
rain-cloud overwhelms, another in death devours his 
winged foe yet living ; blood bespatters the hollow 
clouds . " " What mean those secret tears '^ ? " "Him 
yonder falling, reverend Melampus, him I know full 
well ! " Affrighted thus by the future's dire import, 
and having suffered all under a sure image of things 
to come, the seers are held by terror ; it repents 
them that they have broken in upon the councils of 
the flying birds, and forced their will upon a for- 
bidding heaven ; though heard, they hate the gods 
that heard them. Whence first arose among un- 
happy mortals throughout the world that sickly 
craving for the future ? Sent by heaven, wouldst 
thou call it ? Or is it we ourselves, a race insatiable, 
never content to abide on knowledge gained, that 

Melampus speak at all. Melampus weeps because he under- 
stands Amphiaraus's fate; then Amphiaraus says "Why do 
you weep for me: I know my fate." 


eruiinus, quae prima dies, ubi terminus aevi, 555 

quid bonus ille deum genitor, quid ferrea Clotho 
cogitet ? hinc fibrae et volucrum per nubila sermo 
astrorumque vices numerataque semina^ lunae 
Thessalicumque nefas. at non prior aureus ille 
sanguis avum scopulisque satae vel robore gentes 560 
mentibus his usae ; silvas amor unus humumque 
edomuisse manu ; quid crastina volveret aetas, 
scire nefas homini. nos pravum et flebile vulgus 
scrutari penitus superos : hinc pallor et irae, 
hinc scelus insidiaeque et nulla modestia voti. 565 

Ergo manu vittas damnataque vertice serta 
deripit abiectaque inhonorus fronde sacerdos 
inviso de monte redit ; iam bella tubaeque 
comminus, absentesque fremunt sub pectore Thebae. 
ille nee aspectum volgi, nee fida tyranni 570 

conloquia aut coetus procerum perferre, sed atra 
sede tegi, et superum clausus negat acta fateri ; 
te pudor et curae retinent per rura, Melampu. 
bissenos premit ora dies populumque ducesque 
extrahit incertis. et iam suprema Tonantis 575 

iussa fremunt agrosque viris annosaque vastant 
oppida ; bellipotens prae se deus agmina passim 
mille rapit ; liquere domos dilectaque laeti 
conubia et primo plorantes limine natos ; 
tantus in attonitos cecidit deus. arma paternis 580 
postibus et fixos superum ad penetralia currus 

1 semina PL : semita w. 

" The reference is apparently to horoscopes. 

** It is not clear what he means by this : possibly " semita " 
should be read, " the calculated path of the moon." 

*■ The earliest races, e.g. the Arcadians, were supposed to 
hav^e sprung from trees or rocks. 


THEBAID, III. .355-581 

search out tlie day of oiii' birth " and tlie scene of 
our hfe's ending, what the kindly Father of the gods is 
thinking, or iron-hearted Clotho ? Hence comes it that 
entrails occupy us, and the airy speech of birds, and_ 
the moon's numbered seed^^and Thessalia's horrid 
rites. But that earlier golden age of our forefathers, 
and the races born of rock or oak " were not thus 
minded ; their only passion was to gain the mastery 
of the woods and the soil by might of hand ; it was 
forbidden to man to know what to-morrow's day 
would bring. We, a depraved and pitiable crowd, 
probe deep the counsels of the gods ; hence come 
wrath and anxious fear, hence crime and treachery, 
and importunity in prayer. 

Therefore the priest tears from his brow the fillets 
and wreaths condemned of heaven, and all un- 
lionoured, his chaplet cast away, returns from the 
liated mount ; already war is at hand, and the sound 
of trumpets, and in his heart he hears the clamour 
of absent Thebes. Not sight of populace, nor trusted 
converse ^^'ith the monarch, nor council of chieftains 
can he bear, but hidden in his dark chamber refuses 
to make known the doings of the gods ; thee, 
Melampus, shame and thy own cares keep in thy 
country region. For twelve days he speaks not, and 
holds people and leaders in long-drawn suspense. 
And now tumultuous grow the Thunderer's high 
behests, and lay waste of men both fields and ancient 
towns ; on every side the war-god sweeps countless 
troops before him ; gladly do they leave their homes 
and beloved wives and babes that Mail upon the 
threshold ; with such power hath the god assailed 
their frenzied hearts. Eager are they to tear away 
the weapons from their fathers' doorposts and the 


ST ATI us 

vellere amor ; tunc fessa putri i-obigiue pila 
haerentesquc situ gladios in saeva recurant^ 
vulnera et adtrito cogunt iuvenescere saxo. 
hi teretes galeas magnorumque aerea suta 585 

thoracum et tunicas chalybum squalore crepantes 
pectoribus temptare, alii Cortynia lentant 
cornua ; iam falces avidis et aratra caminis 
rastraque et incurvi saevum rubuere ligones. 
caedere nee validas Sanctis e stirpibus hastas, 590 
nee pudor emerito clipeum vestisse iuvenco. 
inrupere Argos maestique ad limina regis 
bella animis, bella ore fremunt ; it clamor ad auras, 
quantus Tyrrheni gemitus sails, aiit ubi temptat 
Enceladus mutare latus ; super igneus antris 595 

mons tonat, exundant apices fluctusque Pelorus 
contrahit, et sperat tellus abrupta reverti. 

Atque hie ingenti Capaneus Mavortis amore 
excitus et longam pridem indignantia pacem 599 

corda tumens — ^huic ampla quidem de sanguine prisco 
nobilitas ; sed enim ipse manu praegressus avorum 
facta, diu tuto superum contemptor et aequi 
impatiens largusque animae, modo suaserit ira — , 
unus ut e silvis Pholoes habitator opacae 
inter et Aetnaeos aequus consurgere fratres, 605 

ante fores, ubi turba ducum vulgique frementis, 
Amphiarae, tuas " quae tanta ignavia " clamat, 

^ recurant P : recurvant w : recurunt {with r written over) 


THEBAID, III. 582-G07 

chariots made fast in the inmost shrines of the gods ; 
then they refashion for cruel wounds the spears that 
rotting rust has worn, and the swords that stick in 
their scabbards from neglect, and on the grindstone 
force them to be young once more. Some try 
shapely helms and the brazen mail of mighty corse- 
lets, and fit to tlieir breasts tunics that creak with 
the mouldering iron, others bend Gortynian bows ; in 
greedy furnaces scythes, ploughs and harrows and 
curved mattocks glow fiercely red. Nor are they 
ashamed to cut strong spear-shafts from sacred trees, 
or to make a covering for their shields from the worn- 
out ox. They rush to Argos, and at the doors of the 
despondent king clamour with heart and voice for 
war, for war ! And the shout goes up like the roar of 
the Tyrrhenian surge, or when Enceladus " tries to 
shift his side : above, the fiery mountain thunders 
from its caves, its peak o'erflows and Pelorus' flood 
is narrowed, and the sundered land hopes to return 
once more. 

Then Capaneus, impelled by war's overmastering 
passion, with swelling heart that had long thought 
scorn of lingering peace, — nobility of ancient blood 
had he in full measure, but, surpassing the prowess 
of his sires, he had long despised the gods ; impatient 
too was he of justice, and lavish of liis life, did WTath 
but urge him — even as a dweller in Pholoe's dark 
forests, or one who might stand equal among 
Aetnaean brethren,* clamours before thy portals, 
Amphiaraus, amid a crowd of chieftains and yell- 
ing folk : " What shameful cowardice is this, O sons 

" A giant imprisoned under Aetna, Pelorus was a 
promontory to the N.E. of Messana. 

'' i.f., like a Centaur or one of the Cyclopes. 

ST ATI us 

" Inachidae vosque o socio de sanguine Achivi ? 
unius— heu pudeat ! — ^plebeia ad limina civis 
tot ferro accinctae gentes animisque paratae GIO 

pendemus ? non si ipse cavo sub vertice Cirrhae, 
quisquis is est, timidis famaeque ita visus, Apollo 
niugiat insano penitus seclusus in antro, 
exspectare queam, dum pallida virgo tremendas 
nuntiet ambages, virtus mihi numen et ensis, 615 
quern teneo ! iamque hie timida cum fraude sacerdos 
exeat, aut hodie, volucrum quae tanta potestas, 
experiar." laetum fremit adsensuque furentem 
implet Achaea manus. tandem prorumpere adactus 
Oeclides: " alio curavum agitante tumultu 620 

non equidem efFreno iuvenis clamore profani 
dictorumque metu, licet hie insana minetur, 
eUcior tenebris ; alio mihi debita fato 
summa dies, vetitumque dari mortahbus armis, 
sed me vester amor nimiusque arcana profari 625 
Phoebus agit ; vobis ventura atque onine, quod ultra 

pandere maestus eo ; nam te, vesane, moneri 
ante nefas, unique tacet tibi noster Apollo, 
quo, miseri, fatis superisque obstantibus arma, 
quo rapitis ? quae vos Furiarum verbera caecos 630 
exagitant ? adeone animarum taedet ? et Argos 
exosi ? nil dulce domi ? nulla omina curae ? 
quid me Persei secreta ad culmina montis 
ire gradu trepido superumque inrumpere coetus 
egistis ? potui pariter nescire, quis armis 635 

" Parnassus : Cirrha was really the town on the Corinthian 
gulf, but is often used for Delphi. 


THEBAID, III. 608-635 

of Inacluis, and ye Achaeans of kindred blood ? 
Before one citizen's lowly door — for shame ! — do we 
liang irresolute, so vast a host, iron-girt and of ready 
valour ? Not if beneath Cirrha's caverned height "■ 
he, whoe'er he is — Apollo cowards and rumour account 
him — were to bellow from the deep seclusion 
of his crazy grotto, could I wait for the pale virgin 
to announce the solemn riddlings ! V'alour and the 
good sword in my hand are the gods I worship ! 
And now let this priest with his timid trickery come 
out, or this very day I shall make trial, what wondrous 
power there is in birds." The Achaean mob raise 
joyful outcry, and encourage his madness. At last 
Oeclides, driven to rush forth among them : " 'Tis 
not the unrestrained clamour of a blasphemous 
stripling nor the fear of his taunts that draws me 
tVom my darkness, mad though liis threatenings be ; 
far different are the tumultuous cares that vex me, 
far other is the destiny that brings my final doom, 
nor may mortal arms have power upon me. But 
now my love for you and Phoebus' strong inspiration 
compel me to speak forth my oracle ; sadly to you 
will I reveal what is to come, yea all that lies beyond, 
— to you, I say, for to thee, thou madman, nought 
may be foreshown, concerning thee only is our lord 
Apollo silent. Whither, unhappy ones, whither are 
ye rushing to war, though fate and heaven would 
bar the way ? What Furies' lash drives you blindly 
on ? Are ye so weary of life ? Is Argos grown so 
hateful ? Hath home no sweetness ? Heed ye not 
the omens ? Why did ye foi'ce me to climb with 
trembling step to the secret heights of Perseus' 
mount, and bi'eak into the council of the heavenly 
ones ? I could have remained in ignorance with 
VOL. I 2 K 497 

ST ATI us 

casus, ubi atra dies, quae fati exordia cunctis, 
quae mihi. consulti testor penetralia mundi 
et volucrum adfatus et te, Thymbraee, vocanti 
non alias tana saeve mihi, quae signa futuri 
pertulerim : vidi ingentis portenta ruinae, 640 

vidi hominum divumque nietus^ hilarenique Megaeram 
et Lachesin putri vacuantem^ saecula penso. 
proicite arma manu ; deus ecce furentibus obstat, 
ecce deus ! niiseri, quid pulchrum sanguine victo 
Aoniam et diri saturare novalia Cadnii ? 645 

sed quid vana cano, quid fixos arceo casus ? 
ibimus — " hie presso gemuit semel ore sacerdos. 
ilium iteruni Capaneus : " tuus o furor auguret^ uni 
ista tibi, ut serves vacuos inglorius annos 
et tua non umquam Tyrrhenus tempora circum 650 
clangor eat. quid vota virum meliora moraris ? 
scilicet ut vanis avibus natoque domoque 
et thalamis potiare iacens, sileamus inulti 
Tydeos egregii perfossum pectus et arma 
foederis abrupti ? quodsi bella efFera Graios 655 

ferre vetas, i Sidonios legatus ad hostes : 
haec pacem tibi serta dabunt. tua prorsus inani 
verba polo causas abstrusaque nomina^ rerum 
eHciunt ? miseret superum, si carmina curae 

^ metus P : nefas w. 

^ vacuantem Pcj : laxantem P margin. 

^ auguret Mueller : augur et Pw. 

* nomina P : semina w, momina Baehrens. 


THEBAID, III. 636-659 

you, of what hap awaits our arms, when cometh the 
black day of doom, what heralds the common fate — 
and mine ! I call to witness the mysteries of the 
universe I questioned, and the speech of birds, and 
thee, Thymbraean, never before so pitiless to my 
supplication, what presagings of the future I en- 
dured : I saw a mighty ruin foreshown, I saw 
gods and men dismayed and Megaera exultant and 
Lachesis with crumbling thread laying the ages 
waste. Cast away your arms ! behold ! heaven, 
yea, heaven withstands your frenzy ! Miserable 
men, what glory is there in drenching Aonia and 
tlie tallows of dire Cadmus with the blood of van- 
quished foes ? But why do I warn in vain ? why do 
I repel a fate foredoomed ? I go to meet it — " 
Here ceased the prophet, and groaned. To him 
Capaneus yet once more : "To thyself alone utter 
thy raving auguries, that thou mayst live empty and 
inglorious years, nor ever the Tyrrhenian clangour " 
resound about thy temples. But why dost thou delay 
the nobler vows of heroes .'' Is it forsooth that thou 
in slothful ease mayst lord it over thy silly biids and 
thy son and home and women's chambers, that we 
are to shroud in silence the stricken breast of peerless 
Tydeus and the armed breach of covenant ? Dost 
thou forbid the Greeks to make fierce war ? then go 
thyself an envoy to our Sidonian foe : these chaplets 
will assure thee peace. Can thy words really coax 
from the void of heaven the causes and hidden names 
of things ? Pitiable in sooth are the gods, if they 

" i.e., of the trumpet ; the Etruscans excelled in bronze 
work, and this epithet of the trumpet is as old as Aeschylus 
{Eum. 567). 



humanaeque preces ! (}uid inertia pectora terres? 660 

primus in orbe deos fecit timor ! et tibi tuto 

nunc eat iste furor ; sed pi-ima ad classica cum iam 

hostilem Ismenon galeis Dircenque bibemus, 

ne mihi tunc, moneo, lituos atque arma volenti 

obvlus ire pares venisque aut alite visa 665 

bellorum proferre diem : procul haec tibi mollis 

infula terrificique aberit dementia Phoebi : 

illic augur ego et mecum quicumque parati 

insanire manu." rursus fragor intonat ingens 

hortantum et vasto subter volat astra tumultu. 670 

ut rapidus torrens, animos cui verna ministrant 

flamina et exuti concrete frigore montes, 

cum vagus in campos frustra prohibentibus exit 

obicibus, resonant permixto turbine tecta, 

arva, armenta, viri, donee stetit improbus alto 675 

colle minor magnoque invenit in aggere ripas : 

haec alterna ducum nox interfusa diremit. 

At gemitus Argia viri non amplius aequo 
corde ferens sociumque animo miserata dolorem, 
sicut erat laceris pridem turpata capillis 680 

et fletu signata genas, ad celsa verendi 
ibat tecta patris, parvumque sub ubere caro 
Thessandrum portabat avo iam nocte suprema 
ante novos ortus, ubi sola superstite plaustro 
Arctos ad oceanum fugientibus invidet astris. 685 
utque fores iniit magnoque adfusa parenti est : 
" cur tua cum lacrimis maesto sine coniuge supplex 
bmina nocte petam, cessem licet ipsa profari, 

" See Petronius, frag. 27, where this commonplace of the 
rhetoricians is developed in verse. 


THEBAID, III. (.60-688 

take heed of enchantments and prayers of men ! 
Why dost thou affright these shiggish minds ? Fear 
first created gods in tlie world ! "■ Rave therefore 
now thy fill in safety ; but when the first trumpets 
bray, and we are drinking from our helms the hostile 
waters of Dirce and Ismenos, come not then, I warn 
thee, in my path, when I am yearning for the bugle 
and the fray, nor by veins or view of winged fowl 
put off the day of battle ; far away then will be thy 
soft fillet and the crazy alarms of Phoebus : then 
shall I be augur, and with me all who are ready to 
be mad in fight." Again out thunders a vast ap- 
proving shout, and rolls uproarious to the stars. 
Even as a swift torrent, drawing strength from the 
winds of spring and from the melting of the frozen 
cold upon the mountains, when o'er vainly hindering 
obstacles it bursts its way out upon the plain, then 
homesteads, crops, cattle, and men roar mingled in 
the whirling flood, until its fury is checked and batHed 
by a rising hill, and it finds itself embanked by 
mighty mounds : even so interposing night set an 
end to the chieftains' quarrel. 

But Argia, no longer able to bear with calm mind 
her lord's distress, and pitying the grief wherein she 
shared, even as she was, her face long marred by 
tearing of her hair and marks of weeping, went to 
the high palace of her reverend father in the last 
watch of night ere dawn, when Arctos' wagon sole- 
surviving envies the ocean-fleeing stars, and bore in 
her bosom to his loving grandsire the babe Thessander . 
And wlien she had entered the door and was clasped 
in her mighty parent's arms : " Why I seek thy 
threshold at night, tearful and suppliant, without my 
sorrowful spouse, thou knowest, father, even were I 



scis genitor. sed iura deum genialia testor 
teque pater, non ille iubet, sed pervigil angor ; 690 
ex quo primus Hymen movitque infausta sinistram 
luno facem, semper lacrimis gemituque propinquo 
exturbata quies. non si mihi tigridis horror 
aequoreasque^ super rigeant praecordia cautes, 
ferre queam ; tu solus opem, tu summa medendi 695 
iura tenes ; da bella, pater, generique iacentis 
aspice res humiles, atque banc, pater, aspice prolem 
exsulis ; huic olim generis pudor. o ubi prima 
liospitia et iunctae testato^ numine dextrae ! 
hie certe est, quem fata dabant, quem dixit Apollo ; 
non egomet tacitos Veneris furata calores 701 

culpatamve facem : tua iussa verenda tuosque 
dilexi monitus. nunc qua feritate dolentis 
despiciam questus ? nescis, pater optime, nescis, 
quantus amor castae^ misero nupsisse marito. 705 
et nunc maesta quidem grave et inlaetabile munus, 
ut timeam doleamque, I'ogo ; sed cum oscula rumpet 
maesta dies, cum rauca dabunt abeuntibus armis 
signa tubae saevoque genas fulgebitis auro, 
ei mihi ! care pater,^ iterum fortasse rogabo." 710 

Illius umenti carpens pater oscula vultu : 
" non equidem has umquam culparim, nata, querellas ; 
pone metus, laudanda rogas nee digna negari. 
sed mihi multa dei — nee tu sperare, quod urges, 
desine — , multa metus regnique volubile pondus 715 

^ aequoreas Klotz : aequoreae Pw. 

" testato to : funesto P : manifesto Baelirens. 

^ castae P : causae w. 

* pater w : parens P. 


THEBAID, III. 089-715 

slow to tell the cause. But I swear by the sacred 
laws of wedlock and by thee, O sire, 'tis not he that 
bids me, but my wakeful anguish. For ever since 
Hymen at the first and unpropitious Juno raised the 
ill-omened torch, my sleep has been disturbed by 
my consort's tears and moans. Not if I were a tigress 
bristling fierce, not if my heart were rougher than 
rocks on the sea-strand, could I bear it ; thou only 
canst help me, thou hast the sovereign power to 
heal. Grant war, O father ; look on the low estate 
of thy fallen son-in-law, look, father, here on the 
exile's babe ; what shame for his birth will he one 
day feel ! Ah ! where is that first bond of friend- 
ship, and the hands joined beneath heaven's bless- 
ing ? This surely is he whom the fates assigned, 
of whom Apollo spake ; no hidden fires of Venus 
have I in secret cherished, no guilty Medlock ; 
thy reverend commands, thy counsel have I ever 
esteemed. Now with what cruelty should I despise 
his doleful plaint ? Thou knowest not, good father, 
thou knowest not, what deep affection a husband's 
misery implants in a loyal bride. And now in sad- 
ness I crave this hard and joyless privilege of fear 
and grief ; but when the sorrowful day interrupts 
our kisses, when the clarions blare their hoarse 
commands to the departing iiost, and your faces 
glitter in their stei-n casques of gold, ah ! then, dear 
father, mayhap I shall crave a different boon." 

Her sire, with kisses on her tear-bedewed face : 
" Never, my daughter, could I blame these plaints 
of thine ; have no fears, praiseworthy is thy request, 
deserving no refusal. But much the gods give me 
to ponder — nor cease thou to hope for what thou 
urgest — much my own fears and this realm's un- 


ST ATI us 

subiciunt animo. veniet, qui debitus istis, 
nata, modus, neque te incassum flevisse quereris. 
tu solare virum, neu sint dispendia iustae 
dura morae : magnos cunctamur, nata, paratus. 
proficitur bello." dicentem talia nascens 720 

lux monet ingentesque iubent adsurgere curae. 


THEBAID, III. 716-721 

certain governance. In due measure shall thy prayers 
be answered, and thou shalt not complain thy tears 
were fruitless. Console thy husband and hold not 
j ust tarrying cruel waste of time ; 'tis the greatness 
of the enterprise that brings delay. So gain we 
advantage for the war." As thus he spoke, the 
new-born light admonished him, and his grave cares 
bade him arise. 



Tertius horrentem zepliyris laxaverat annum 
Phoebus et angustum cogebat limite verno^ 
longius ire diem, cum fracta impulsaque fatis 
consilia et tandem miseri data copia belli, 
prima manu rutilam de vertiee Larissaeo 5 

ostendit Bellona facem dextraque trabalem 
hastam intorsit agens, liquido quae stridula caelo 
fugit et Aoniae eelso stetit aggere Dirces. 
mox et castra subit ferroque auroque coruscis 
mixta viris turmale fremit ; dat euntibus enses, 10 
plaudit equos, vocat ad portas ; hortamina fortes 
praeveniunt, timidisque etiam brevis addita virtus. 

Dicta dies aderat. cadit ingens rite Tonanti 
Gradivoque pecus, nullisque secundus in extis 
pallet et armatis simulat sperare sacerdos. 15 

iamque suos circum pueri nuptaeque patresque 
funduntur mixti summisque a postibus obstant. 
nee modus est lacrimis : rorant clipeique iubaeque 
triste salutantum, et cunctis dependet ab armis 
suspiranda domus ; galeis iuvat oscula clusis 20 

^ angustum . . . verno w : angusto . . . vernum P. 


Thrice had Phoebus loosened stark winter with the 
Zephyrs, and was constraining the scanty day to 
move in its vernal path witli a longer course, when 
counsellings yielded to the shock of fate, and pitiful 
war was given at last an ample field. First from the 
Larissaean height Bellona displayed her ruddy torch, 
and with right arm drove the spear-shaft whirling ; 
hissing, it flew through the clear heaven, and stood 
fixed on the high rampart of Aonian Dirce. Then 
to the camp she goes and, mingling with the heroes 
that glittered in gold and steel, shouts like a squadron ; 
she gives swords to hurrying warriors, claps their 
steeds and beckons gatewaixl ; the brave anticipate 
her promptings and even the timid are inspired to 
short-lived valour. 

The appointed day had come. A mighty herd 
falls in due sacrifice to the Thunderer and to Mars ; 
the priest, cheered by no favouring entrails, pales and 
feigns hope before the host. And now around their 
kinsmen sons and brides and fathers pour mingled, 
and from the summit of the gates would fain delay 
them. No stint is there of tears : bedewed are the 
shields and helmet-crests of those who make their 
sad farewell, and the household, the object of their 
sighs, clings to every weapon ; they delight to find 
entrance for their kisses through the closed visors, 


ST ATI us 

inserere amplexuque truces deducere conos. 

illi, quis ferrum modo, quis mors ipsa placebat, 

dant gemitus fractaque labant singultibus ira. 

sic ubi forte viris longum super aequor ituris, 

cum iam ad vela noti et scisso redit ancora fundo, 25 

haeret amica manus : certant innectere collo 

brachia, manantesque oculos liinc oscula turbant, 

hinc magni caligo maris, tandemque relicti 

stant in rupe tamen ; fugientia carbasa visu 

dulce sequi, patriosque dolent crebrescere ventos. 30 

stant tamen, et nota puppim de rupe salutant.^ 

Nunc niihi, Fama prior mundique arcana Vetustas, 
cui meminisse ducum vitasque extendere curae, 
pande vlros, tuque o nemoris regina sonori, 
Calliope, quas ille manus, quae moverit arma 35 

Gradivus, quantas populis solaverit urbes, 
sublata molire Ivra : neque enim altior uUi 
mens hausto de fonte venit. rex tristis et aeger 
pondere curarum propiorque abeuntibus annis 
inter adhortantes vix sponte incedit Adrastus, 40 

contentus ferro cingi latus ; arma manipli 
pone ferunt, volucres portis auriga sub ipsis 
comit equos, et iam inde iugo luctatur Arion. 
huic armat Larissa viros, huic celsa Prosymna, 
aptior armentis Midea pecorosaque Phlius, 45 

1 //. 29, 30 omitted by w, 31 omitted by P. 

" E. H. Alton (Class. Quarterly, xvii. p. 175) interprets, 
possibh' correctly, " content with a bodyguard," and " arma 
ferunt " as " march, fully armed," comparing vii. 501 
" multoque latus praefulgurat ense," also " ferrum " in 
i. 148, iv. 145. 

THEBAID, IV. 21-45 

and to draw down the grim helmet-peaks to their 
embrace. They who of late took pleasure in the 
sword, yea in death itself, now groan and shake with 
sobbing, their warlike temper broken. Even so, 
when men are about to go perchance on some long 
voyage o'er the sea, and already the south winds are 
in the sails and the anchor rises from its torn bed, 
the loving band clings fast and enlaces their necks 
with eager arms, and their streaming eyes are 
dimmed, some with kisses, some with the sea's vast 
haze ; at last they are left behind, yet stand upon 
a rock, and rejoice to follow the swift-flying canvas 
with their gaze, while they grieve that their native 
breezes are blowing ever stronger ; yet still they 
stand, and beckon to the ship from the well-known 

Now, Fame of olden time, and thou, dark Antiquity 
of the world, whose care it is to remember princes 
and to make immortal the story of their lives, 
recount the warriors, and thou. Calliope, queen of the 
groves of song, uplift thy lyre and begin the tale, 
what troops of arms Gradivus roused, what cities 
he laid waste of their peoples ; for to none comes 
loftier inspiration from the fountain's draught. The 
king Adrastus, sick with misgiving beneath the 
burden of his cares, and drawing nigh his life's 
departure, walked scarce of his own will amongst 
the applauding people, content to be girt but with 
his sword ; " attendants bear his arms behind him, 
his charioteer tends the swift horses close by the 
city gates, and already is Arion struggling against 
the yoke. To support their king Larissa and high 
Prosymna arm their men, and Midea, fitter home 
of herds, and Phlius rich in cattle, and Neris that 



quaeque pavet longa spumantem valle Charadron 
Neris, et ingenti turritae mole Cleonae 
et Lacedaemoniuin Thyrea lectura^ cruorem. 
iunguntur niemores transmissi ab origine regis, 
qui Drepani scopulos et oliviferae Sicyonis 50 

culta serunt, quos pigra vado Strangilla^ tacenti 
lanibit et anfractu riparum incurvus Elisson. 
saevus honos fluvio : Stygias lustrare severis 
Eumenidas perhibetur aquis ; hue mergere suetae 
ora et anhelantes poto Phlegethonte cerastas, 55 

seu Thracum vertere domos, seu tecta Mycenes 
impia Cadmeumve larem ; fugit ipse natantes 
amnis, et innumeris livescunt stagna venenis. 
it comes Inoas Ephyre solata querellas 
Cenchreaeque manus, vatum qua conscius amnis 60 
Gorgoneo percussus equo, quaque obiacet alto 
Isthmos et a terris maria inclinata repellit. 
haec manus Adrastum numero ter mille secuti 
exsultant ; pars gaesa manu, pars robora flammis 
indurata diu — non unus namque maniplis 65 

mos neque sanguis — habent, teretes pars vertere^ 

adsueti vacuoque diem praecingere gyro. 

^ Thyrea lectura Weber : thyla electura F : thyre lectura ui. 

^ Strangilla P : stagilla X* : Langia w {but Langia is near 
Nemea) ; various conjectures have been made. 

^ vertere w : vertice P. Garrod reads teretis . . . fundae 
here, and conj. vacuomque. 

" A district on the borders of Argolis and Laconia, which 
was the subject of constant fighting between Argives and 
Spartans down to as late as a hundred years after Statius's 

* Adrastus was originally ruler of Sicyon, having fled 
thither from Argos owing to a feud, but subsequently 
returned to Argos; cf. ii. 179. 

THEBAID, IV. 46-67 

tjuails at Cliaradros foaming down his valley's length, 
Cleonae with her piled mass of towers, and Thyrea " 
destined one day to reap a harvest of Spartan gore. 
To them are joined men who remember the king- 
sent thence in early days,** men who cultivate the 
rocky heights of Drepanum and olive-bearing Sicyon, 
and whom Strangilla laves with lazy, silent stream, 
and Elisson winding through his curving banks. An 
awful privilege has that river : it cleanses, so 'tis 
said, with its austere waters the Stygian Eumenides ; 
liere are they wont to dip their faces and the horned 
snakes that gasp from drinking Phlegethon, whether 
they have ruined Thracian homes " or Mycenae's 
impious palace or Cadmus' dwelling ; the river itself 
flees from them as they bathe, and its pools grow 
livid with countless poisons. Ephyre, who consoled 
the weeping Ino,'' lends her company, and Cenchreae, 
where the river, struck by the Gorgon-quelling steed, 
owns the presence of the bard, and where Isthmos 
lies athwart the deep and Avards off from tlie land 
the sloping seas. This troop, in all three thousand, 
followed in Adrastus' train exultant ; some bore 
pikes in their hand, some stakes long hardened in 
the fire — for neither blood nor custom are shared 
by all their bands — some are wont to whirl firmly- 
Moven slings and gird the air with a trackless circle. 

'^ Probably refers to the madness sent upon Lycurgus, 
king of Thrace, by Dionysus. 

■^ She bewailed lier son Palaemon at Lechaeum, port of 
Corinth (Ephyre). Cenchreae was the port on the Saronic 
Gulf ; the spring struck out by the hoof of Pegasus was 
usually placed on Helicon (Hippocrene), but was sometimes 
identified with Pirene, the fountain at Corinth, cf. Silvae, 
ii. 7. 2. 

51 I 

ST ATI us 

ipse annis sceptrisque subit venerabilis aeque : 

ut possessa diu taurus meat arduus inter 

pascua iam laxa cervice et inanibus armis, 70 

dux tamen : baud ilium bello adtemptare iuvencis 

sunt animi ; nam trunca vident de vulnere multo 

cornua et ingentes plagarum in peetore nodos. 

Proxima longaevo profert Dircaeus Adrasto 
signa gener, cui bella favent,^ cui conmiodat iras 75 
cuncta cohors : huic et patria de sede volentes 
advenere viri, seu quos movet exsul et haesit 
tristibus aucta fides, seu quis mutare potentes 
praecipuum, multi, melior quos causa querenti 
conciliat ; dederat nee non ipse regendas 80 

Aegion Arenenque, et quas Theseia Troezen 
addit opes, ne rara movens inglorius iret 
agmina, neu raptos patriae sentiret honores. 
idem habitus, eadem arma viro, quae debitus hospes 
hiberna sub nocte tulit : Teumesius implet 85 

terga leo et gemino lucent hastilia ferro, 
aspera volnifico subter latus ense riget Sphinx, 
iam regnum matrisque sinus fidasque sorores 
spe votisque tenet, tamen et de turre suprema 
attonitam totoque exstantem corpore longe 90 

respicit Argian ; haec mentem oculosque reducit 
coniugis et dulces avertit peetore Thebas. 

Ecce inter medios patriae ciet agmina gentis 
fulmineus Tydeus, iam laetus et integer artus, 

^ favent Pw : gerit Bentley. 

" He was born there, at the home of his mother Aethra, 
whose father Pittheus was king of Troezen. 

" See i. 483. 

THEBAID, IV. 68-94 

The king himself moves venerable alike in years 
and rank : as a tall bull goes amid the pastures he 
has long possessed, his neck and shoulders now 
drooping and void of strength, yet the leader still ; 
no courage have the steers to try him in the fight, 
for they see the horns that many a blow has broken, 
and huge scars of wounds upon his breast. 

Next to the aged Adrastus his Dircaean son-in-law 
brings forth his standards ; to his cause the war does 
service, to him the whole army lends its martial ire, 
for him even from his native home have men come 
gladly, whether those whom his exile moves, and 
in whom loyalty has stood sure strengthened by 
adversity, or those in whom desire to change their 
ruler is uppermost, many again whom the better 
cause makes favourable to his complaint. Moreover, 
his father-in-law had given him Aegion and Arene 
to rule, and all the wealth that Troezen, famous for 
Theseus," brings, lest with scant following he should 
go inglorious, and feel the loss of his native honours. 
The hero wears the same dress and carries the same 
arms as on that winter's night, when he owed the 
duty of a guest : ^ a Teumesian lion covers his back, 
and the twin points of javelins glitter, while by his 
side a cruel Sphinx rises stiff on his wound-dealing 
sword. Already in his hopes and prayers he is 
master of his realm, and holds his mother and faith- 
ful sisters in his embrace, yet he looks back upon 
distraught Argia as she stands on the high tower 
against the sky ; she draws back to herself her 
husband's eyes and thoughts, and drives pleasant 
Thebes from out his mind. 

Lo ! in their midst Tydeus flashing bright leads 

on his native squadrons, glad already and hale of 

VOL. 1 2 L 513 


ut primae strepuere tubae : ceu lubricus alta 95 

angiiis humo verni blanda ad spiramina solis 
erigitur liber senio et squalentibus annis 
exutus laetisque minax interviret herbis : 
a miser ! agrestum si quis per gramen hianti 
ob\'ius et primo fraudaverit^ ora veneno. 100 

huic quoque praesentes Aetolis urbibus adfert 
belli fama viros : sensit scopulosa Pylene 
fletaque cognatis avibus Meleagria Pleuron 
et praeceps Calydon, et quae love provocat Iden 
Olenos, loniis et fluctibus hospita portu 105 

Chalcis et Herculea turpatus gymnade vultuc 
amnis ; adhuc imis vix truncam adtollere frontem 
ausus aquis glaucoque caput submersus in antro 
maeret, anhelantes aegrescunt pulvere ripae. 
omnibus aeratae propugnant pectora crates, 110 

pilaque saeva manu, patrius stat casside Mavors. 
undique magnanimum pubes delecta coronant 
Oeniden, hilarem bello notisque decorum 
vulneribus ; non ille minis Polynicis et ira 
inferior, dubiumque adeo, cui bella gerantur. 115 

Maior at inde novis it Doricus ordo sub armis, 
qui ripas, Lyrcie, tuas, tua litora multo 
vomere suspendunt, flu\iorum ductor Achivum, 
Inache — Persea neque enim violentior exit 
amnis humo, cum Taurum aut Pleiadas hausit aquosas 

^ fraudaverit P : siccaverit w. 

" i.e., after his wounds received at Thebes in the ambush. 

*" The sisters of Meleager wept for him until Artemis 
turned them into guinea-fowl, hence called " meleagrides." 

" Olenos was an Aetolian town called after a king of that 
name who was a son of Zeus. The Ida referred to is the 
mountain in Crete, which boasted of having given birth to 
Zeus. "* The Achelous. 


THEBAID, IV. 95-120 

limb,'' so soon as the first bugles sounded : even so 
a slippery snake raises itself from the deep earth 
at tlie coaxing breath of the vernal sun, freed of its 
eld and the unsightly years put off, and gleams, a 
bright green danger, in the lush herbage ; unhappy 
the husbandman who meets its gaping mouth in the 
grass, and spoils its fangs of their new venom ! To 
him also the rumour of war brings present help of 
warriors from the Aetolian cities ; rocky Pylene 
heard the tidings, and Pleuron of Meleager, wept 
for by his sister-birds ; ^ steep Calydon, and Olenos 
whose Jove doth challenge Ide,'' and Chalcis, welcome 
haven from Ionian billows, and the river ** whose face 
the athlete Hercules did mar : even yet scarce 
dares he raise his stricken visage from the waters' 
depth, but mourns with liead sunk far below in his 
green cave, while the river-banks pant and sicken 
with dust. All these defend their bodies with 
bronze-bound targes, and bear fierce halberds in 
their hands, while native Mars stands erect upon 
their helms. Chosen youths surround the great- 
hearted son of Oeneus, high-spirited for battle and 
in all the glory of his well-known scars ; no meaner 
he in threatening ire than Polynices ; 'tis doubtful 
even for whom the war is waged. 

But mightier comes thereon the Dorian * array 
new-armed, they whose numerous ploughs turn up 
thy banks, Lyrcius, and thy shores, Inachus, prince 
of Achaean streams — for no more tempestuous 
torrent flows forth from Persean-'^ land, when he has 
drunk deep of Taurus ^ or the watery Pleiades, foam- 

* i.e., Peloponnesian. ^ i.e., Argive. 

" Taurus, the sign of the Zodiac, mentioned as rainy, 
because the Hyades were in it (c/. Phn. N.H. ii. 110). 



spumeus et genero tumuit love — quos celer ambit 121 
Asterion Dryopumque trahens Erasinus aristas, 
et qui rura domant Epidauria — dexter laceho 
collis, at Hennaeae Cereri negat — ; avia Dyme 
mittit opem densasque Pylos Neleia turmas ; 125 

nondum nota Pylos iuvenisque aetate secunda 
Nestor, et ire tamen peritura in eastra negavit. 
hos agitat pulchraeque docet virtutis amorem 
arduus Hippomedon ; capiti tremit aerea cassis 
ter niveum scandente^ iuba, latus omne sub amis 130 
ferrea suta terunt, umeros ac pectora late 
flammeus orbis habet, perfectaque vivit in auro 
nox Danai : sontes Furiarum lampade nigra 
quinquaginta ardent thalami ; pater ipse cruentis 
in foribus laudatque nefas atque inspirit enses. 135 
ilium Palladia sonipes Nemeaeus ab arce 
devehit arma pavens umbraque immane volanti 
implet agros longoque attollit pulvere campum. 
non aliter silvas umeris et utroque refringens 
peetore montano duplex Hylaeus ab antro 140 

praecipitat : pavet Ossa vias, pecudesque feraeque 
procubuere metu : non ipsis fratribus horror 
afuit, ingenti donee Peneia saltu 
stagna subit magnumque obiectus detinet amnem. 

Quis numerum ferri gentisque et robora dictu 145 
aequarit mortale sonans ? suus excit in arma 

^ ter niveum scandente Pw : nivea N, candente Heinsius. 
D^s Schol. has " triplici ordine." 

" Jupiter was the lover of lo, daughter of Inachus, and 
"Jove" is used for "rain"; cf. Virg. Georg. ii. 419 
"maturis metuendus Jupiter arvis." 

'' Where Proserpine was carried off by Pluto. 

" Danaus planned the murder of the fifty suitors of his 
daughters, who slew their husbands on the wedding night. 

5] 5" 

THEBAID, IV. 121-146 

ing high and swollen with Jove, his daughter's lover "• 
— they too whom swift Asterion encircles and 
Erasinus sweeping on his flood Dryopian harvests, 
and they who tame the fields of Epidaurus — favour- 
able to lacchus are those hill-sides, but they give 
denial to Ceres of Henna '' — desolate Dyme sends 
aid, and Neleian Pylos her swarming squadrons ; 
not yet renowned was Pylos, and Nestor was as yet 
in the prime of his second age, but would not join 
a host doomed to perish. These doth tall Hippo- 
medon excite and teach the love of glorious valour ; 
on his head a brazen helm doth shake with triple 
tier of snow-white plume, beneath his armour iron 
mail fits close upon his flanks, his shoulders and breast 
a wide flaming circle covers, whereon the night of 
Danaus " lives in the gold handiwork : the fifty 
guilty chambers blaze with the Furies' murky torch, 
the sire himself on the blood-stained threshold 
praises the crime and views the swords. A Nemean 
steed in terror of the fight bears the hero from the 
citadel of Pallas,*^ and fills the fields with the huge 
flying shadow, and the long trail of dust rises upon 
the plain. Not otherwise, crashing through the 
forests with shoulders and either breast, does twy- 
formed Hylaeus " speed headlong from his mountain 
cave ; Ossa trembles at his going, and beasts and 
cattle fall in terror ; yea, even his brethren are 
affrighted, till with a great leap he plunges into the 
waters of Peneus, and with thwarting bulk dams 
back the mighty flood. 

Who could describe in mortal speech that numerous 
armament, its peoples and their valiant might ? 

'' There was a temple of Athena on the acropolis of Argos 
(Paus. ii. 24. 4). * One of the Centaurs. 



antiquam Tiryntha deus ; non fortibus ilia 
infecunda viris famaque^ immanis alumni 
degenerat, sed lapsa situ fortuna, neque addunt 
robur opes ; rarus vacuis habitator in ar\is 150 

monstrat Cyclopum duct as sudoribus arces. 
dat tamen haec iuvenum tercentum pectora, vulgus 
innumerum bello, quibus haud ammenta nee enses 
triste micant : flavae capiti tergoque leonum 
exuviae gentilis honos, et pineus armat 155 

stipes, inexhaustis artantur tela pharetris. 
Herculeum paeana canunt, vastataque monstris 
omnia ; frondosa longum deus audit ab Oeta 
dat Xemea comites, et quas in proelia vires 
sacra Cleonaei cogunt vineta Molorchi. 160 

gloria nota casae, foribus simulata salignis 
hospitis arma dei, parvoque ostenditur arvo, 
robur ubi et laxos qua reclinaverit artus 
ilice, qua cubiti sedeant vestigia terra. 

At pedes et toto despectans vertice bellum 165 
quattuor indomitis Capaneus erepta iuvencis 
terga superque rigens iniectu molis aenae 
versat onus ; squalet triplici ramosa corona 
Hydra recens obitu : pars anguibus aspera vivis 
argento caelata micat, pars arte reperta^ 170 

conditur et fulvo moriens nigrescit^ in auro ; 
circum amnis torpens et ferro caerula Lerna. 

^ famaque Pw : famaeve Baehrens, on the ground that 
this verb is never found with the ablative. 

^ reperta Pco : reposta Deiter, retorta, repressa, etc., edd. 
Alton conj. pars acre perempta (i.e. " dead " as opp. to 
" dying "). Garrod conj. pars altera reptans. reperta must 
be corrupt, hut no emendation seems convincing. 

^ nigrescit P : ignescit w, pallescit D. 

" Hercules. * The scene of his apotheosis. 


THEBAID, IV. 147-172 

Ancient Tiryns is roused by her own god" to arms, 
not barren of brave men, nor degenerate from her 
tremendous son's renown, but desolate and her day 
of fortune past, nor hath she the power that wealth 
can give ; the scanty dweller in her empty fields 
points out the towers raised by the sweat of Cyclopean 
brows. Yet she sends three hundred manly hearts, 
a company undisciplined for war, without javelin- 
thongs or the sui'ly gleam of swords ; on their heads 
and shoulders the tawny spoil of lions, their tribe's 
adornment, a pinewood stake their weapon, and shafts 
crammed tight in inexhaustible quivers. They sing 
the paean of Hercules and the world swept clear 
of monsters : the god listens from afar on leafy 
Oeta.'' Nemea gives them comrades and all the 
might that the sacred vineyards of Cleonaean 
Molorchus summon to war. Well known is the glory 
of that cottage " ; pictured upon its willow doors are 
the arms of the god who was its guest, and in the 
humble field 'tis shown where he laid his club, and 
under what holm-oak he reposed his limbs at ease, 
and where yet the ground bears traces of his lying. 

But Capaneus, on foot and looking down by a 
whole head's height upon the host, wields the burden 
of four hides torn from the backs of untamed steers 
and stiffened above with a covering of massy bronze ; 
there lies the Hydra with triple-branching crown, 
lately slain and foul in death : part, embossed in 
silver, glitters fierce with moving snakes, part by a 
cunning device is sunken, and grows dark in the 
death agony against the tawny gold ; around, in 
dark-blue steel runs the torpid stream of Lerna. 

" The cottage of Molorchus at wliich Hercules .stayed on 
the night before the slaying of the Nemean lion. 

5 If) 


at laterum tractus spatiosaque pectora servat 
nexilis innumero Chalybum subtemine thorax, 
horrendum, non matris, opus ; galeaeque corusca 175 
prominet arce gigans ; atque uni missilis illi 
cuspide praefixa stat frondibus orba cupressus. 
huic parere dati, quos fertilis Amphigenia 
planaque Messene montosaque nutrit Ithonie, 
quos Thryon et summis ingestum niontibus Aepy, 180 
quos Helos et Pteleon, Getico quos flebile vati 
Dorion ; hie fretus doctas anteire canendo 
Aonidas mutos Thamyris damnatus in annos 
ore simul citharaque — quis obvia numina teninat ? — 
conticuit praeceps, qui non certamina Phoebi 185 
nosset et inlustres Satyro pendente Celaenas. 
lamque et fatidici mens expugnata fatiscit 
auguris ; ille quidem casus et dira videbat 
signa, sed ipsa manu cunetanti iniecerat arma 
Atropos obrueratque deum, nee coniugis absunt 190 
insidiae, vetitoque domus iam fulgurat auro. 
hoc aurum vati fata exitiale monebant 
Argolico ; scit et ipsa^ — nefas ! — sed perfida coniunx 
dona \dro mutare velit, spoliisque potentis 
imminet Argiae raptoque excellere cultu. 195 

ilia libens — nam regum animos et pondera belli 
hac nutare videt, pariter ni providus heros 
militet — ipsa sacros gremio Polynicis amati 
exuerat cultus^ haud maesta atque insuper addit : 

^ ipsa Sandsfroem : ipse Pw. 
^ exuerat cultus P : deposuit nexus w. 

" Marsyas, who strove with Phoebus on the flute, but, 
being defeated, was hung up and flayed by him. 

THEBAID, IV. 173-199 

His long flanks and spacious breast are guarded by 
a corselet woven of iron threads innumerable, a 
work inspiring terror, no mother's task ; a giant 
rises from the summit of his flashing helm ; his 
spear, that he alone can throw, is a cypress standing 
stripped of leaves and pointed with iron. Assigned 
in fealty to him are they whom fertile Amphigenia 
nourishes, and Messene's plain and mountainous 
Ithome, Thryon and Aepy high-piled on mountain- 
tops, Helos too and Pteleon and Dorion that bewails 
the Getic bard : here Thamyris made bold to surpass 
in song the skilled daughters of Aonia, but doomed 
to a life of silence fell on the instant mute with voice 
and harp alike — who may despise deities met face 
to face ? — for that he knew not what it was to strive 
with Phoebus, nor how the hanging Satyr " brought 
Celaenae fame. 

And now even the fate-foretelling augur's resolve 
begins to weaken under strong assault ; he saw indeed 
what should befall and the dread signs thereof, but 
Atropos herself had made violent attack upon his 
doubting will, and overwhelmed the god ^vithin him, 
nor is wifely treachery absent, and already the house 
sparkles with the forbidden gold. From that gold 
did the fates bode destruction to the Argive seer, 
yea, and she knew it — ah, impious crime ! — but the 
perfidious wife would fain barter her husband for a 
gift, and yearns to gain the spoils of the princess 
Argia, and to excel her in the stolen finery. She 
not unwilling — for she sees that the spirit of the 
princes and the resolve for war must fail, should not 
the foreseeing hero join their enterprise — herself put 
off from her bosom the fatal ornament of her beloved 
Polynices, nor grieved thereat, but saith moreover : 



" non haec apta mihi nitidis ornatibus " inquit, 200 

" tempora, nee miserae placeant insignia formae 

te sine : sat dubiuni coetu solante timorem 

fallere et incultos aris adverrere crines. 

scilicet — infandum^ ! — , cum tu cludare minanti 

casside ferratusque sones, ego di\itis aurum 205 

Harmoniae dotale geram ? dabit aptior ista 

fors deus. Argolicasque habitu praestabo maritas, 

cum regis coniunx, cum te mihi sospite templa 

votivis implenda choris : nunc induat ilia, 

quae petit et bellante potest gaudere marito." 210 

sic Eriphylaeos aurum fatale penates 

inrupit scelerumque ingentia semina movat, 

et grave Tisiphone risit gavisa futuris. 

Taenariis hie celsus equis, quam dispare coetu 
Cyllarus ignaro generarat Castore prolem, 215 

quassat humum ; vatem cultu Parnassia monstrant 
vellera : frondenti crinitur cassis oliva, 
albaque puniceas inteqilicat infula cristas, 
arma simul pressasque iugo moderatur habenas. 
hinc atque inde morae iaculis, et ferrea curru 220 
silva tremit ; procul ipse gravi metuendus in hasta 
eminet et clipeo victum Pythona coruscat. 
huius Apollineae currum comitantur Amyclae, 
quos Pylos^ et dubiis Malea vitata cai-inis 
plaudentique habiles Caryae resonare Dianae, 225 
quos Pharis volucrumque parens Cythereia Messe, 
Taygetique phalanx et oloriferi Eurotae 

^ infandum P : heu siiperi u. 

^ Pjlos Poj : Helos Kolihnann, who cp. Horn. 11. ij. 584 : 
Pylos ha^ already been mentioned i. 125. 


THEBAID, n'. 200-227 

" No fit times these to deck myself in shining jewelry, 
nor without thee let me take delight in adorning nly 
hapless beauty ; enough to beguile my doubts and 
fears with the solace of my maidens, and trail my 
unkempt tresses at the altars. Shall I — oh ! thought 
unspeakable ! — shall I wear rich Harmonia's dower 
of gold, while thou art shut within thy threatening 
helmet, and dost clang in arms of steel ? More fitly 
mayhap will heaven grant me that boon, and I outdo 
the Argolic brides in apparel, when I am queen 
indeed, and must fill the temples with votive choirs, 
upon thy safe return. Now let her put it on who 
desires it, and can rejoice while her husband is at 
war." Thus the fatal gold made entry to the 
chambers of Eriphyle, and set in motion the begin- 
nings of great crimes, and Tisiphone laughed loud, 
exulting in what should come to pass. 

Aloft behind Taenarian steeds, whom Cyllarus 
unknown to Castor had begotten on mares of meaner 
stock, he makes earth tremble ; the adornment of 
Parnassian wool betrays the prophet, sprays of olive 
wreath his helmet, and the white fillet intertwines 
the scarlet crest. He handles at once his weapons 
and the reins held tight upon the yoke. On either 
side there is a shelter fi-om darts, and an iron forest 
trembles on his chariot ; far seen he stands, con- 
spicuous and terrible A\ith stern spear, and flashes 
the conquered Python on his shield. Amyclae, 
Apollo's town, bears his car company, and the bands 
of Pylos, and Malea shunned by doubting keels, 
and Caryae skilled to raise the hymn that wins 
Diana's applause, and Pharis and Cytherean Messe, 
mother of doves, the phalanx of Taygetus, and the 
hardy troop of swan-nurturing Eurotas. The 



dura manus. deus ipse vii'os in pulvere crudo 
Areas alit nudaeque modos virtutis et iras 
ingenerat ; vigor inde animis et mortis honorae 230 
dulce sacrum, gaudent natorum fata parentes 
hortanturque mori, deflent iamque omnis ephebum 
turba, coronato contenta est funere mater, 
frena tenent duplexque inserto missile nodoj 
exserti ingentes umeros, chlamys horrida pendet, 235 
et cono Ledaeus apex, non hi tibi solum, 
Amphiarae, merent : auget resupina maniplos 
Elis, depressae populus subit ineola Pisae, 
qui te, flave, natant terris, Alphee, Sicanis 
advena, tam longo non umquam infecte profundo. 240 
curribus innumeris late putria arva lacessunt 
et bellis armenta domant : ea gloria genti 
infando de more et fractis durat ab usque 
axibus Oenomai ; strident spumantia morsu 
vincula, et efFossas niveus rigat imber harenas. 245 

Tu quoque Parrhasias ignara matre eatervas — 
a rudis armorum, tantum nova gloria suadet ! — , 
Parthenopaee, rapis ; saltus tunc forte remotos 
torva parens — neque enim haec iuveni foret ire 

potestas — 
pacabat cornu gelidique aversa Lycaei. 250 

pulchrior baud ulli triste ad discrimen ituro 
vultus et egregiae tanta indulgentia formae ; 
nee desunt animi, veniat modo fortior aetas. 
quas non ille duces nemorum fluviisque dicata 

" Mercury, cf. Hor. C. i. 10. 4. 

'' i.e., a crest of swan's feathers. 

" King of Elis, who challenged the suitors of his daughter 
Hippodamia to a chariot-race, and slew them when he 
defeated them ; he was finally defeated and slain himself 
by Pelops. ^ i.e.. Arcadian. 


THEBAID, IV. 228-254 

Arcadian god '^ himself trains them in the dust of 
combat, and implants in them the ways of naked 
valour and warlike temper ; hence dauntless courage 
and the welcome consecration of a glorious death. 
Their parents rejoice in their children's fate and urge 
them on to die ; and while the whole band of youths 
makes lamentation, the mother is content with the 
wreath that crowns the victim. They hold the reins 
and two javelins with thong attached, bared are 
their mighty shoulders, from which a rough cloak 
hangs ; a Ledaean crest * is on their helms. Not 
these alone, Amphiaraus, are in thy service : the 
slopes of Elis swell thy array, and low-lying Pisa's 
folk, who swim thy waters, yellow Alpheus, thou 
who farest to Sicanian lands, yet art never tainted 
by so long a passage through the deep. Countless 
chariots vex their crumbling fields far and wide, 
their beasts are broken to war : that glory of the race 
endures even from the impious ways and broken axles 
of Oenomaus ^ ; the champed bits foam between the 
jaws, and the white spume bedews the churned earth. 
Thou too, Parthenopaeus, unknown to thy mother 
— unschooled alas ! in arms, such lure hath young 
ambition — speedest onward thy Parrhasian'* cohorts. 
Thy warlike parent," so it chanced — not otherwise 
could the boy have left her — was bringing peace with 
her bowto distant glades, and the farther slopes of cool 
Lycaeus. No fairer face was there of any marching 
to the grim hazard of war, none wins such favour for 
pre-eminent beauty ; nor lacks he courage, so he but 
come to sterner years. What forest-queens and spirits 

« Atalanta, a comrade of Diana, and so vowed to virginity, 
but Diana " forgave her the crime " of becoming the mother 
of Parthenopaeus (1. 258). 



numina. quas rnagno non abstulit-"^ igne Napaeas ? 255 

ipsam, Maenalia puerum cum vidit in umbra, 

Dianam, tenero signantem gramina passu, 

ignovisse ferunt comiti, Dictaeaque tela 

ipsam et Amyclaeas umeris aptasse pharetras 

prosilit audaci Martis percussus amore, 260 

arma, tubas audire calens et pulvere belli 

flaventem sordere comam captoque referri 

hostis equo : taedet nemorum, titulumque nocentem 

sanguinis humani pudor est nescire sagittas. 

igneus ante omnes auro micat, igneus ostro, 265 

undantemque sinum nodis inrugat Hiberis, 

imbelli parma pictus Calydonia matris 

proelia ; trux laeva sonat arcus, et aspera plumis 

terga Cydonea corytos harundine pulsat 

electro pallens et iaspide clarus Eoa. 270 

cornipedem trepidos suetum praevertere cervos, 

velatum geminae deiectu lyncis et arma 

mirantem gravioris eri, sublimis agebat, 

dulce rubens \iridique genas spectabilis aevo. 

Arcades huic veteres astris lunaque priores, 275 

agmina fida datis, nemorum quos stirpe rigenti 

fama satos, cum prima pedum vestigia tellus 

admirata tulit ; nondum arva domusque nee urbes 

conubiisve modus ; quercus laurique ferebant 

cruda puerperia, ac populos umbrosa creavit 280 

^ abstulit P : impulit w. 

" i.e., Cretan ; Crete was famous for bows and arrows. 

* The reference may, however, be to a steel cuirass (c/. 
Hor. C i. 29. 15) fitting tightly upon a full undergarment. 

" The Arcadians were the most primitive people of ancient 
Greece, and were supposed to have been born originally from 
rocks or trees (c/. 1. 340). For the quaint idea of 11. 282 sqq. 


THEBAID, IV. 255-280 

enshrined in rivers, what nymphs of the ghide hath he 
not fired witli consuming passion ? Diana herself, 
when she saw the boy beneath the shade of Maenakis 
stepping youthful o'er the grass, forgave her comrade, 
so they say, and Avith her own hand fitted to his 
shoulders the Dictean " shafts and Amyclean quiver. 
Smitten by dauntless love of war he dashes to the 
front, burning to hear the clash of arms and bray 
of trumpets, to soil his fair hair with the dust of 
battle, and to ride home on a foeman's captive steed. 
He is weary of the woodlands, and ashamed that 
he knows not the arrows' baneful boast of human 
blood. Foremost he shines, ablaze with purple and 
gold, his streaming cloak furrowed by Iberian cords, ** 
and his innocent shield adorned with his mother's 
Calydonian battles ; fierce sounds tlie bow at his 
left side, and on his back, plumed with feathery 
shafts, rattles the quiver set with pale electrum and 
brilliant Eastern jasper, full of Cydonian arrows. 
His charger, accustomed to outstrip the flying stags, 
was covered with two lynxes' hides, and marvelled 
at his armed master's heavier weight ; him he loftily 
bestrode, comely to look upon from the pleasant flush 
of youth upon his cheeks. To him the Arcadians " 
an ancient people, older than the moon and stars, 
give trusty cohorts ; they were born, 'tis said, of 
the hard trunks of forest trees, when the wondering 
earth first bore the print of feet ; not yet were fields 
or houses or cities or ordinance of marriage : oaks 
and laurels suffered rude child-birth, and the shady 

cf. Lucretius, v. 973 — 

nee plangore diem magno solemque per agros 
quaerebant i)avidi palantes noetic in umbris, 

i.e., wandered about in search of the sun that had set below 

the horizon. 



fraxinus, et feta \arjdis puer excidit orno. 

hi lucis stupuisse vices noctisque feruntur 

nubila et occiduum longe Titana secuti 

desperasse diem, rarescunt alta colonis 

Maenala, Parthenium fugitur nemus, agmina bello 285 

Rhipeque et Stratie ventosaque donat Enispe. 

non Tegea, non ipsa deo vacat alite felix 

Cyllene templumque Aleae nemorale Minervae 

et rapidus Clitor et qui tibi, Pythie, Ladon 

paene socer, candensque iugis Lampia nivosis 290 

et Pheneos nigro Styga mittere credita Diti. 

venit et Idaeis ululatibus aeniulus Azan 

Parrhasiique duces, et quae risistis, Amores, 

grata pharetrato Nonacria rura Tonanti, 

dives et Orchomenos pecorum et Cynosura ferarum. 

Aepytios idem ardor agros Psophidaque celsam 296 

vastat et Herculeo vulgatos robore montes 

monstriferumque Erymanthon et aerisonum Stym- 

Arcades hi, gens una viris, sed dissona cultu 
scinditur : hi Paphias myrtos a stirpe recurvant 300 
et pastorali meditantur proeha trunco, 
his arcus, his tela sudes, his cassida crines 
integit, Arcadii morem tenet ille galeri, 
ille Lycaoniae rictu caput asperat ursae. 
hos belU coetus iurataque pectora Marti 305 

" He was father of Daphne. 

* A lake near the town of that name in Arcadia ; the 
underground channels of the rivers were supposed to lead 
down to Hades. 

" Because there too Cybele was worshipped. 

^ When he assumed the shape of Diana to gain the favours 
of Callisto. 


THEBAID, IV. 281-305 

mountain-ash peopled the earth, and the young babe 
fell from the pregnant ash-tree's womb. 'Tis said 
that, struck with terror at the change from light to 
murky darkness, they followed far the setting Titan, 
despairing of the day. The husbandmen grow few 
on high Maenalus, the forests of Parthenius are 
deserted, Rhipe and Stratie and windy Enispe give 
their troops to aid the war. Neither Tegea nor 
Cyllene blest by the winged god stand idle, nor 
Alea, woodland shrine of Minerva, nor swift Clitor, 
nor Ladon," almost, O Pythian, the father of thy 
bride ; nor yet Lampia with her shining snow-white 
ridges, nor Pheneos,'' believed to send down Styx to 
swarthy Dis. Azan, that can rival the howling mobs 
of Ida,'' came, and the Parrhasian leaders, and the 
Nonacrian countryside, wherein the Thunderer quiver- 
clad'' took delight, and furnished laughter for you, 
ye Loves, and Orchomenos rich in cattle, and 
Cynosura abounding in wild beasts. The same 
ardour lays bare the fields of Aepytus and lofty 
Psophis and the mountains famed for Hercules' 
might, Erymanthos home of monsters, and Stym- 
phalos with its clanging bronze.* All Arcadians 
these, one race of men, but sundered by differing 
customs : these bend back Paphian myrtle-saplings, 
and practise warfare with pastoral staves ; some 
have bows, some pikes for weapons ; some cover 
their hair with helmets, while that one keeps the 
fashion of the Arcadian hat, and another makes his 
head terrible with the jaws of a Lycaonian she-bear.^ 
This warlike gathering of hearts sworn true to Mars 

' Refers to the brazen rattle with which Hercules frightened 
the Stymphalian birds. 

^ Such as Callisto, daughter of Lycaon, was turned into. 
VOL. I 2 M 529 

ST ATI us 

milite vicinae nullo iuvere Mycenae ; 
funereae tunc namque dapes mediique recursus 
solis, et hie alii miscebant proelia fratres. 

lamque Atalantaeas implerat nuntius aures, 
ire ducem bello totamque impellere natum 310 

Arcadiam : tremuere gradus, elapsaque iuxta 
tela ; fugit silvas pernicior alite vento 
saxa per et plenis obstantia flumina ripis, 
qualis erat, correpta sinus et vertice flavum 
crinem sparsa noto ; raptis velut aspera natis 315 
praedatoris equi sequitur vestigia tigris. 
ut stetit adversisque impegit pectora frenis 
— ille ad luimum^ pallens — : " unde haec furibunda 

nate, tibi ? teneroque unde improba pectore virtus ? 
tu bellis aptare viros, tu pondera ferre 320 

Martis et ensiferas inter potes ire catervas ? 
quamquam utinam quires^ ! nuper te pallida vidi, 
dum premis obnixo venabula comminus apro, 
poplite succiduo resupinum ac paene ruentem, 
et ni curvato torsissem spicula eornu, 325 

nunc ubi bella tibi ? nil te mea tela iuvabunt 
nee teretes arcus, maculis nee discolor atris 
hie, cui fidis, equus ; magnis conatibus instas, 
vix Dryadum thalamis Erymanthiadumque furori 
Nympharuni mature puer. sunt omina vera : 330 
mirabar, cur templa mihi tremuisse Dianae 
nuper et inferior vultu dea visa, sacrisque 
exuviae cecidere tholis ; hoc segnior arcus 
difficilesque manus et nullo in vulnere certae. 

^ ille ad humum Pw : ilia ad eum Peyrared. 
^ quires Postgate : vires Pw : vidi Bentley. 

" Atreus and Thyestes. 

THEBAID, IV. 306-334 

Mycenae, neighbour though she was, helped with 
no soldiery ; for then was the deadly banquet and 
the sun's midday withdrawing, and there, too, was 
a feud of warring brothers." 

And now the tidings had filled the ears of Atalanta, 
that her son was going a captain to the war, and 
rousing all Arcadia ; her steps faltered and the darts 
fell by her side ; swifter than the winged Avind she 
fled from the woodland, o'er rocks and brimming 
rivers that would stay her, just as she was, with 
snatched-up raiment and fair hair streaming behind 
her on the breeze ; even as a tigress, bereft of her 
cubs, fiercely tracks the horse of him that robbed her. 
When she halted and pressed her bosom on the reins 
that met her (he pale, with eyes downcast) : " Whence 
comes this mad desire, my son, whence this reckless 
valour in thy young breast ? Canst thou drill men 
to war, canst thou bear the burdens of Mars and go 
among the sword-bearing companies ? Yet would that 
thou wert able ! Lately I paled to see thee plying 
thy hunting-lance in close conflict with a struggling 
boar, foi'ced back upon bent knee and almost fallen, 
and had I not drawn my bow and sped an arrow, 
where now would be thy wars ? Nought will my 
shafts avail thee, nor my shapely bows, nor this 
black-spotted steed in whom thou trustest ; mighty 
are the endeavours to which thou hastenest, and thou 
a boy scarce ripe for the embraces of Dryads or the 
passions of Erymanthian Nymphs. Omens tell true : 
I wondered why Diana's temple seemed to me of 
late to tremble, and the goddess herself to frown 
upon me, and why the votive spoils fell from her 
roof ; this it was that made my archery slack and 
my hands to falter and never to strike sure. Nay, 



exspecta, dum maior honos, durri firmius aevum, 335 
dum roseis venit umbra genis vultusque recedunt 
ore mei ; tunc bella tibi ferrumque, quod ardes, 
ipsa dabo, et nullo matris revocabere fletu. 
nunc refer arma domum ! vos autem hunc ire sinetis, 
Arcades, o saxis nimirum et robore nati ? " 340 

plura cupit ; fusi circum natusque ducesque 
solantur minuuntque metus, et iam horrida clangunt 
signa tubae. nequit ilia pio dimittere natum 
complexu multumque duci commendat Adrasto. 

At parte ex alia Cadmi Mavortia plebes, 345 

maesta ducis furiis nee moUi territa fama, 
quando his vulgatum descendere viribus Argos, 
tardius ilia quidem regis causaque pudore, 
verum bella movet. nulli destringere ferrum 
impetus, aut umeros clipeo clausisse paterno 350 

dulce nee alipedum iuga comere, qualia belli 
gaudia ; deiecti trepidas sine mente, sine ira 
promisere manus ; hie aegra in sorte parentem 
unanimum, hie dulces primaevae coniugis annos 
ingemit, et gremio miseros adcrescere natos. 355 

bellator nulli caluit deus ; ipsa vetusto 
moenia lapsa situ magnaeque Amphionis arces 
iam fessum senio nudant latus, et fide sacra 
aequatos caelo surdum atque ignobile muros 
firmat opus, tamen et Boeotis urbibus ultrix 360 
adspirat ferri rabies, nee regis iniqui 
subsidio, quantum socia pro gente moventur. 

" For the legend see 1. 275 n. 

THEBAID, IV. 335-362 

wait till thy prowess be greater, thy years more firm, 
till the shadow come upon thy rosy cheeks and my 
likeness fade from off thy face. Then I myself will 
give thee the battles and the sword for which thou 
dost burn, and no mother's tears shall call thee back. 
Now take back thy weapons home ! But you, will 
you suffer him to go to war, ye Arcadians, O born 
assuredly of rock and oak ? " " More would she fain 
entreat ; her son and the chieftains thronging round 
console her and lessen her fears, and already the 
bugles' horrid signal blares forth. She cannot loose 
her son from her loving embrace, and commends him 
earnestly to his leader Adrastus. 

But in another region the Martian folk of Cadmus, 
dismayed by the madness of the king and terrified 
by news that is grave indeed — for 'tis spread abroad 
how Argos is making descent in force — tardily in 
truth for shame of the monarch and his cause, never- 
theless prepare for war. None rush to draw the 
sword, or take pleasure in covering their shoulders 
with their father's shield or making trim the harness 
of wing-footed horses, delights such as war affords ; 
despondent, without resolve or warlike temper, they 
vouchsafe a timorous aid ; this one bewails a loving 
parent in his evil case, another his wife's pleasant 
youth and the hapless babes ripening in her womb. 
In none does the war-god wax hot ; even the walls 
crumbling with age-long neglect and Amphion's 
mighty towers lay bare their worn and ancient sides, 
and a mean and unresponsive toil repairs those 
parapets once raised to heaven by the inspired harp. 
Yet the Boeotian cities are moved by the avenging 
lust of battle, and are stirred in behalf of their 
kindred race rather than to aid the unjust king. 



ille velut pecoris lupus expugnator opimi, 

pectora tabenti sanie gravis hii'taque saetis 

ora cruentata deformis hiantia lana, 365 

decedit stabulis hue illuc turbida versans 

lumina, si duri comperta clade sequantur 

pastores, magnique fugit non inscius ausi. 

Adcumulat crebros turbatrix P"ama pavores : 
hie iam disperses errare Asopide ripa 370 

Lernaeos equites ; hie te, baeehate Cithaeron^ 
ille rapi Teumeson ait noetisque per umbras 
nuntiat excubiis vigiles arsisse Plataeas. 
nam Tyrios sudare lares et sanguine Dircen 
inriguam fetusque novos iterumque locutam 375 

Spliinga petris, eui non et scire licentia passim 
et vidisse fuit ? novus his super anxia turbat 
corda metus : sparsis subito correpta canistris 
silvestris regina chori deeurrit in aequum 
vertice ab Ogygio trifidamque hue tristis et illuc 380 
lumine sanguineo pinum disiectat et ardens 
erectam attonitis implet clamoribus urbem : 
"omnipotens Xysaee pater, eui gentis a\itae 
pridem lapsus amor, tu nunc horrente sub arcto 
belhca ferrato rapidus quatis Ismara thyrso 385 

pampineumque iubes nemus inreptare Lycurgo, 
aut tumidum Gangen aut claustra novissima Rubrae 
Tethyos Eoasque domos flagrante triumpho 
perfuris, aut Hermi de fontibus aureus exis : 

" i.e., Theban : so also " Ogygian," line 380. 

^ The leader of the Bacchanals, or women that in Bacchic 
frenzy roamed the hills round about Thebes. 

" A mountain-cit}' in India, according to some legends 
the birthplace of Bacchus ; Oriental triumphs play a large 
part in the Dionysian legend. 

^ King of Thrace, who resisted Bacchus and his vines. 


THEBAID, IV. 363-389 

Like is he to a wolf that has forced an entx'ance to 
a rich fold of sheep, and now, his breast all clotted 
witli foul corruption and his gaping bristly mouth 
unsightly with blood-stained wool, hies him from 
the pens, turning this way and that his troubled 
gaze, should the angry shepherds find out their loss 
and follow in pursuit, and flees all conscious of his 
bold deed. 

Disturbing Rumour heaps panic upon panic : one 
says that scattered cavalry of Lerna wander upon 
Asopus' bank, one tells of thy capture, Cithaeron of 
the revels, another reports Teumesos taken, and 
Plataeae's watch-fires burning through the darkness 
of the night. And to whom throughout the land 
hath not knowledge, yea sight been granted, of the 
Tyrian * walls a-sweat and Dirce stained with blood, 
of monstrous births and Sphinx yet once more speak- 
ing from her I'ock ? And to crown all, a new fear 
confounds their anxious hearts : of a sudden the 
queen of the woodland dance '' is seized by frenzy, 
and scattering the sacred baskets runs down to the 
plain from the Ogygian heights, and bloodshot-eyed 
waves fiercely to and fro a triple pine-torch, and 
fills the alarmed city with wild distracted cries : 
" Almighty Sire of Nysa,*' who long hast ceased to 
love thy ancestral nation, swift-borne beneath the 
frozen North thou art shaking warlike Ismara now 
with thine iron-pointed thyrsus, and bidding the 
vine-gi'oves creep over Lycurgus' ** realm, or thou 
art rushing in mad and flaring triumph by swelling 
Ganges and the farthest confines of red Tethys '^ 
and the Eastern lands, or issuing golden from the 

* i.e., what the ancients called the Red Sea, viz. the Persian 



at tua progenies, positis gentilibus arniis 390 

quae tibi festa-^ litant, bellum lacrimasque metumque 
cognatumque nefas_. iniusti munera regni, 
pendimus. aetei'nis potius me, Bacche, pruinis 
trans et An:iazoniis ululatum Caucason armis 
siste ferenS; quam monstra ducum stirpemque pro- 
fanam 395 

eloquar. en urges ; alium tibi, Bacche, fui'orem 
iuravi : similes video concurrere tauros ; 
idem ambobus honos unusque ab origine sanguis ; 
ardua conlatis obnixi cornua miscent 
frontibus alternaque truces moriuntur in ira. 400 

tu peior, tu cede,^ nocens qui solus avita 
gramina communemque petis defendere montem. 
a miseri morum ! bellastis sanguine tanto, 
et saltum dux alter habet." sic fata gelatis 
vultibus et Baccho iam demigrante quie\dt. 405 

At trepidus monstro et variis terroribus impar 
longaevi rex vatis opem tenebrasque sagaces 
Tiresiae, qui mos incerta paventibus, aeger 
consulit. ille deos non larga caede iuvencum, 
non alacri pinna aut verum salientibus^ extis, 410 
nee tripode implicito numerisque sequentibus astra, 
turea nee supra volitante altaria fumo 
tarn penitus, durae quam Mortis limite manes 
elicitos patuisse refert, Lethaeaque sacra 
et mersum Ismeni subter confinia ponto 415 

1 festa Pw : bella D. 

^ cede Pw : caede Baehrens. 

^ salientibus P : spirantibus u. 

° i.e., the thyrsus. "Thy progeny," because Bacchus 
was the guardian deity of Thebes. 

" " parat " must be taken both with " Lethaeaque sacra " 
and with " ducem," i.e., Laius ; " miscentis " is intrans. 


THEBAID, IV. 390-415 

springs of Hermus. But we, thy progeny, have laid 
aside our counti'y's weapons'* that do thee festal 
honour, and have our portion of war and tears, and 
terror and kindred crime, the cruel burdens of this 
unrighteous reign. Rather, O Bacchus, take and 
set me among the eternal frosts, beyond Caucasus 
that I'ings with the war-cry of the Amazons, than 
that I sliould tell the horrors of our rulers and their 
unnatural brood. Lo ! thou drivest me ! far different 
was the frenzy I vowed to thee, O Bacchus : I behold 
two similar bulls engage, alike in honour and sharing 
one inherited blood ; A\'ith butting foreheads and 
lofty horns they close in fierce struggle, and perish 
in the violence of their mutual wrath. Thou art the 
villain ! do thou give way, who WTongfully seekest 
all alone to hold ancestral pastures and the hills ye 
both do own. Ah ! miserable and wicked ! such 
bloodshed have your wars cost you, and another 
champion is master of your meadow." So spake she, 
and as the god withdrew his presence fell mute with 
ice-cold face. 

But the king, affrighted by the portent and a prey 
to various terrors, in sick despair — such is the way 
of those who fear they know not what — seeks aid from 
the long-lived seer and the clear-sighted blindness of 
Tiresias. He replies that heaven shows not its will 
so clearly by lavish slaughter of steers or nimble 
feathered wing or the truthful leap of entrails, not 
by means of garlanded tripod or star-determined 
numbers, or by the smoke that hovers about the 
altar's frankincense, as by the ghosts called up from 
Death's stern barrier ; then he prepares the rites 
of Lethe,** and makes ready beforehand to evoke the 
monarch sunk below the confines of Ismenos where 



miscentis parat ante ducem, circumque bidentum 
visceribus laceris et odori sulpuris aura 
graminibusque no\is et longo niurmure piirgat. 

Silva capax aevi validaque incurva senecta, 
aeternum intonsae frondis, stat per\ia nullis 420 

solibus ; baud illam brumae minuere, Notusve 
ius habet aut Getica Boreas impactus ab Ursa, 
subter operta quies, vacuusque silentia servat 
horror et exclusae pallet male lucis imago, 
nee caret umbra deo : nemori Latonia cultrix 425 
additur ; hanc piceae cedrique et robore in omni 
effietam Sanctis occultat silva tenebris. 
huius inaspectae luco stridere sagittae 
nocturnique canum gemitus, ubi limina patrui 
efFugit inque novae melior redit ora Dianae ; 430 

aut ubi fessa iugis, dulcisque altissima somnos 
■lux mo vet, hie late iaculis circum undique fixis 
efFusam pharetra cervicem excepta quiescit. 
extra immane patens tellus Mavortia campi, 
fetus ager Cadmo. durus qui vomer e primo 435 

post consanguineas acies sulcosque nocentes 
ausus humum versare et molha sanguine prata 
eruit ; ingentes infelix terra tumultus 
lucis adhuc medio solaque in nocte per umbras 
exspirat, nigri cum vana in proelia surgunt 440 

terrigenae ; fugit incepto tremibundus ab arvo 
agricola insanique domum rediere iuvenci. 

THEBAID, IV. 416-442 

it mingles with the deep, and makes purgation all 
around with the torn entrails of sheep and the strong 
smell of sulphur, and with fresh herbs and the long 
mutterings of prayers. 

There stands a wood, enduring of time, and strong 
and erect in age, ^\^th foliage aye unshorn nor pierced 
by any suns ; no cold of winter has injured it, nor 
has the South wind power thereon nor Boreas swoop- 
ing down from the Getic Bear. Beneath is sheltered 
quiet, and a vague shuddering awe guards the 
silence, and the phantom of tlie banished light gleams 
pale and ominous. Nor do the shadows lack a divine 
power : Latonia's haunting presence is added to 
the grove ; her effigies wrought in pine or cedar 
and wood of eveiy tree are hidden in the hallowed 
gloom of the forest. Her arrows whistle unseen 
tlirough the wood, her hounds bay nightly, when 
she flies from her uncle's threshold and resumes 
afresh Diana's kindlier shape. Or when she is weary 
from her ranging on the hills, and the sun high in 
heaven invites sweet slumber, here doth she rest 
with head flung back carelessly on her quiver, while 
all her spears stand fixed in the earth around. 
Outside, of vast extent, stretches the Martian plain, 
the field that bore its harvest to Cadmus. Hardy 
was he who first after the kindred warfare and the 
crime of those same furrows dared with the plough- 
share till the soil and upturned the blood-soaked 
meads ; even yet the accursed earth breathes 
miglity tumults at midday and in the lonely night's 
dim shadows, when the black sons of eartli arise to 
phantom combat : with trembling limbs the husband- 
man flees and leaves the field unfinished, and his 
oxen hie them to their stalls, distraught. 



Hie senior vates — Stygiis adcommoda quippe 
terra sacris, vivoque placent sola pinguia tabo — 
velleris obscuri pecudes armentaque sisti 445 

atra monet, quaecumque gregum pulcherrima cervix 
dueitur ; ingemuit Dirce maestusque Cithaeron, 
et nova clamosae stupuere silentia valles. 
turn fera caeruleis intexit cornua sertis 
ipse manu tractans, notaeque in limite silvae 450 

principio largos noviens tellure cavata 
inclinat Bacchi latices et munera verni 
lactis et Actaeos imbres suadumque cruorem 
manibus ; adgeritur, quantum bibit arida tellus. 
trunca dehinc nemora advolvunt, maestusque sacerdos 
tris Hecatae totidemque satis Acheronte nefasto 456 
virginibus iubet esse focos ; tibi, rector Averni, 
quamquam infossus humo superat tamen agger in 

pineus ; hunc iuxta cumulo minor ara profundae 
erigitur Cereri ; frontes atque omne cupressus 460 
intexit plorata latus. iamque ardua ferro 
signati capita et frugum libamine puro 
in vulnus cecidere greges ; tunc innuba Manto 
exceptum pateris praelibat sanguen, et omnes 
ter circum acta pyras sancti de more parentis 465 
semineces fibras et adhuc spirantia reddit 
viscera, nee rapidas cunetatur frondibus atris 
subiectare faces, atque ipse sonantia flammis 
virgulta et tristes crepuisse ut sensit acervos 
Tiresias — illi nam plurimus ardor anhelat 470 

ante genas impletque eavos vapor igneus orbes, — 
exclamat — tremuere rogi et vox terruit^ ignem : — 

^ terruit P : impulit w. 

" Honey, for which Hymettus in Attica was famous. 

THEBAID, IV. 443-472 

Here the aged seer — for well suited is the ground 
to Stygian rites, and the soil, rich with living 
gore, delighted him — bids dark-fleeced sheep and 
black oxen be set before him, all the finest heads 
that the hei*ds can show ; Dirce and gloomy 
Cithaeron wailed aloud, and the echoing valleys 
shuddered at the sudden silence. Then he entwined 
their fierce horns with wreaths of dusky hue, handling 
them himself, and first at the edge of that well- 
known wood he nine times spills lavish draughts 
of Bacchus into a hollowed trench, and gifts of 
vernal milk and Attic rain '' and propitiatory blood 
to the shades below ; so much is poured out as the 
dry earth will drink. Then they roll tree trunks 
thither, and the sad priest bids there be three 
altar-fires for Hecate and three for the maidens 
born of cursed Acheron ; for thee, lord of Avernus, 
a heap of pinewood though sunk into the ground 
yet towers high into the air ; next to this an altar 
of lesser bulk is raised to Ceres of the underworld ; 
in front and on every side the cypress of lamentation 
intertwines them. And now, their lofty heads 
marked with the sword and the pure sprinkled meal, 
the cattle fell under the stroke ; then the virgin 
Manto, catching the blood in bowls, makes first 
libation, and moving thrice round all the pyres, as 
her holy sire commands, offers the half-dead tissues 
and the yet living entrails, nor delays to set the 
devouring fire to the dark foliage. And when 
Tiresias heard the branches crackling in the flames 
and the grim piles roaring — for the burning heat 
surges before his face, and the fiery vapour fills 
the hollows of his eyes— he exclaimed, and the 
pyres trembled, and the flames cowered at his voice : 



" Tartareae sedes et formidabile regnum 
Mortis inexpletae, tuque, o sae\assime fratrum, 
cui servire dati manes aeternaque sontum 475 

supplicia atque imi famulatur regia mundi, 
solvite pulsanti loca muta et inane severae 
Persephones vulgusque cava sub nocte repostum 
elicite, et plena redeat Styga portitor alno. 
ferte simul gressus, nee simplex manibus esto 480 
in lucem remeare modus ; tu separe coetu 
Elysios, Persei,^ pios, virgaque potenti 
nubilus Areas agat ; contra per crimina functis, 
qui plures Erebo pluresque e sanguine Cadmi, 
angue ter excusso et flagranti praevia taxo, 485 

Tisiphone, dux pande diem, nee lucis egentes 
Cerberus occursu capitum detorqueat umbras." 
Dixerat, et pariter senior Phoebeaque virgo 
erexere animos : illi formidine nulla, 
quippe in corde deus, solum timor obruit ingens 490 
Oedipodioniden. vatisque horrenda canentis 
nunc umeros nunc ille manus et vellera pressat 
anxius inceptisque velit desistere sacris. 
qualis Gaetulae stabulantem ad confraga silv^ae 
venator longo motum clamore leonem 495 

exspectat firmans animum et sudantia nisu 
tela premens ; gelat ora pavor gressusque tremiscunt, 

^ Persei Q : persae (-saee) Pw. 

" Hades, or Pluto, was the brother of Zeus and Poseidon ; 
they obtained sky and sea respectively, while he had to be 
content with the underworld. 


THEBAID, IV. 473-497 

"Abodes of Tartarus and awful realm of insatiable 
Death, and thou, most cruel of the brothers,* to 
whom the shades are given to serve thee, and the 
eternal punishments of the damned obey thee, and 
tlie palace of the underworld, throw open in answer 
to my knocking the silent places and empty void 
of stern Persephone, and send forth the multitude 
that lurk in hollow night ; let the ferryman row back 
across the Styx with groaning bark. Haste ye all 
together, nor let there be for the shades but one 
fashion of return to the light ; do thou, daughter 
of Perses,^ and the cloud- wrapt Arcadian with rod of 
power lead in separate throng the pious denizens 
of Elysium ; but for those who died in crime, who 
in Erebus, as among the seed of Cadmus, are most 
in number, be thou their leader, Tisiphone, go on 
before with snake thrice brandished and blazing 
yew-branch, and throw open the light of day, nor 
let Cerberus interpose his heads, and turn aside the 
ghosts that lack the light." 

He spoke, and together the aged man and Phoebus' 
maiden waited in rapt attention. Nought feared 
they, for their hearts were inspired of the god ; only 
the son of Oedipus was overcome by a great terror, 
and in agony he grasps, now the shoulders, now the 
hands and sacred fillets of the seer as he chants his 
awful strain, and would fain leave the rites unfinished. 
Even so a hunter awaits a lion roused by long shouting 
from his lair in the brushwood of a Gaetulian forest, 
steeling his courage and holding his spear in a 
perspiring grip ; his face is frozen in terror and his 
steps tremble ; " what beast approaches ? " he 

" He was brother of Circe and Aeetes, Perseis is Hecate. 



quis veniat quantusque, sed horrida signa frementis 
accipit et caeca metitur murmura cura. 499 

Atque hie Tii-esias nondum adventantibus umbris : 
" tester " ait, " divae, quibus hunc saturavimus ignem 
laevaque convulsae dedimus carchesia terrae. 
iam nequeo tolerare moram. cassusne sacerdos 
audior ? an, rabido iubeat si Thessala cantu, 
ibitis et Scythicis quotiens medicata^ venenis 505 
Colchis aget, trepido pallebunt Tartara motu : 
nostri cura minor, si non attollere bustis 
corpora nee plenas antiquis ossibus urnas 
egerere et mixtos caehque Erebique sub unum 
funestare deos hbet aut exsanguia ferro 510 

ora sequi atque aegras functorum carpere fibras ? 
ne tenues annos nubemque hanc frontis opacae 
spernite, ne, moneo ; et nobis saevire facultas. 
novimus et quidquid dici noscique timetis, 
et turbare Hecaten, ni te, Thymbraee, vererer 515 
et triphcis mundi summum, quern scire nefastum. 
ilium — sed taceo : prohibet tranquilla senectus. 
iamque ego vos " — a vide subicit Phoebeia Manto : 
"audiris, genitor, vulgusque exsangue propinquat. 
panditur Elysium chaos, et telluris opertae 520 

dissilit umbra capax, silvaeque et nigra patescunt 
flumina, hventes Acheron eiectat harenas. 
^ medicata P : armata w. 

" i.e., if I care not to practise evil rites. 

'' It is not clear whom or what Statius means by this 
mysterious phrase. Cf. Lucan, Phars. vi. 743, where a 
similar Power is appealed to. The Scholiast identifies with 
the Demiurgus, or Creator, who appears in some philosophical 
systems (Orphic, Gnostic, Plato's Timaeus), but more prob- 
ably Statius is using the language of magical formulae, in 
which such invocations as " highest," " greatest," " king," 
without any particular application are common. Cf. the 


THEBAID, 1\'. -HJ8~522 

wonders, and " how mighty ? " and he hears the 
roar that gives ominous signal, and measures the 
growing sound in bhnd anxiety. 

Then Tiresias, as the ghosts did not yet draw 
nigh : "I bear you witness, goddesses, for whom 
we have drenched these flames and poured pro- 
pitious goblets upon the rent earth, I can endure 
delay no further. Am I heard in vain, priest though 
I be ? Or, if a hag of Thessaly bid you with her 
frenzied chant, will ye then go, or so often as a 
Colchian witch drives you with Scythian drugs and 
poisons, will Tartarus grow pale and stir affrighted : 
but of me have ye less regai-d, if I care not to raise 
bodies from the tomb, and bring forth urns crammed 
with ancient bones, and profane the gods of heaven 
and Erebus alike, or hunt with the sword the blood- 
less faces of the dead and pluck out their sickly 
tissues ? " Despise not these frail years nor the 
cloud that is upon my darkened brow, despise it not, 
I warn you ! I, too, can vent my wrath. I know 
the name whose knowing and whose speaking ye 
so dread, even Hecate I can confound, feared I 
not thee, O Thymbraean, and the high lord of the 
triple world,** who may not be known. Him — but 
I am silent ; peaceful old age forbids. Now will 

I " but \Ianto, votary of Phoebus, eagerly 

cries : " Thou art heard, O father, the pale host 
draws nigh. The Elysian void is flung open, the 
spacious shadows of the hidden region are rent, the 
groves and black rivers lie clear to view, and Acheron 
belches forth noisome mud. Smoky Phlegethon 

(Iraeco-F.a-yptian ina^'ic spells edited by Wesseiy (< •rifc/i. 

Zauberpapi/ri, JSSS), or l)y Eitreni (I'dp. Oalofti.s^s, l!)Jo). 

Typhon ( -Seti) is frequently called on in similar language. 

VOL. I 2 N 5 l,j 


fumidus atra vadis Phlegethon incendia volvit, 
et Styx discretis interflua manibus obstat. 
ipsum pallentem solio circumque ministras 525 

funestorum operum Euraenidas Stygiaeque severos 
lunonis thalamos et torva cubilia cerno. 
in speculis Mors atra sedet dominoque silentes 
adnumerat populos ; maior superimminet ordo. 
arbiter hos dura versat Cortynius urna 530 

vera minis poscens adigitque expromere vitas 
usque retro et tandem poenarum lucra fateri, 
quid tibi monstra Erebi, Sc3dlas et inane furentes 
Centauros solidoque intorta adamante Gigantum 
vincula et angustam centeni Aegaeonis umbram ? " 

" Immo" ait, "onostrae regimen viresque senectae, 
ne volgata mihi. quis enim remeabile saxum 537 
fallentesque lacus Tityonque alimenta volucrum 
et caligantem longis Ixiona gyris 
nesciat ? ipse etiam, melior cum sanguis, opertas 540 
inspexi sedes, Hecate ducente, priusquam 
obruit ora deus totamque in pectora lucem 
detulit. Argolicas magis hue adpelle precando 
Thebanasque animas ; alias avertere gressus 
lacte quater sparsas maestoque excedere luco, 545 
nata, iube ; turn qui vultus habitusque, quis ardor 
sanguinis adfusi, gens utra superbior adsit, 
die agedum nostramque mone per singula noctem." 

lussa facit carmenque serit, quo dissipat umbras, 
quo reciet sparsas ; qualis, si crimina demas, 550 

" i.e., Proserpine. <> Minos. 


THEBAID, IV. 523 550 

rolls down his streams of mui'ky flame, and Styx 
interfluent sets a barrier to the sundered ghosts. 
Himself I behold, all pale upon his throne, with 
Furies ministering to his fell deeds about him, and 
the remorseless chambers and gloomy couch of 
Stygian Juno.** Black Death sits upon an eminence, 
and numbers the silent peoples for their lord ; yet 
the greater part of the troop remains. The Gortynian 
judge '^ shakes them in his inexorable urn, demanding 
the truth with threats, and constrains them to 
speak out their whole lives' story and at last confess 
their extorted gains. Why should I tell thee of 
Hell's monsters, of Scyllas and the empty rage of 
Centaurs, and the Giants' twisted chains of solid 
adamant, and the diminished shade of hundredfold 
Aegaeon ? " " Even so," said he, " O guide and 
strength of my old age, tell me not things well 
known. Who knows not the aye-returning rock, 
and the deceiving waters, and Tityos food of vultures, 
and Ixion swooning on the long circlings of the 
Avheel ? I myself in the years of stronger manhood 
beheld the hidden realms with Hecate as my guide, 
before heaven whelmed my vision, and drew all my 
light within my mind. Rather summon thou hither 
with thy prayers the Argive and the Theban souls ; 
the rest, my daughter, bid thou with milk four times 
sprinkled to avert their steps, and to leave the 
dreary grove. Then tell me, pray, the dress and 
countenance of each, how great their desire for the 
spilled blood, which folk draw nigh more haughtily, 
and thus of each several thing inform my darkness." 
She obeys, and weaves the charm wherewith she 
disperses the shades and calls them back when 
scattered ; potent (but without their crimes) as the 



Colchis et Aeaeo siiuulatrix litore Circe. 
tunc his sacrificum dictis adfata parenteni : 
" primus sanguineo submittit inertia Cadmus 
ora lacu, iuxtaque virum Cythereia proles 
insequitur, geminusque bibit^ de vertice serpens. 555 
terrigenae comites illos, gens Martia, cingunt, 
quis^ aevi mensura dies, manus omnis in armis, 
omnis et in capulo ; prohibent obstantque ruuntque 
spirantmn rabie, nee tristi incumbere fossae 
cura, sed alternum sitis exhaurire cruorem. 500 

proxima natarum manus est fletique nepotes. 
hie orbani Autonoen et anhelam cernimus Ino 
respectantem arcus et ad ubera dulce prementem 
pignus et oppositis Semelen a ventre lacertis. 
Penthea iam fractis genetrix Cadmeia thyrsis 565 
iamque remissa deo pectusque adaperta^ cruentum 
insequitur planctu ; fugit ille avia Lethes 
et Stygios super usque lacus, ubi mitior^ ilium 
flet pater et lacerum componit corpus Echion. 
tristem nosco Lycum dextramque in terga reflexum 
Aeoliden, umero iactantem funus onusto. 571 

necdum ille aut habitus aut versae crimina formae 
mutat Aristaeo genitus : fi'ons aspera cornu, 
tela manu, reicitque canes in vulnus hiantes. 

^ insequitur geminusque bibit P : effluit amborum geminus 
w. Cf. X. 134, xi, 490. 
^ quis L Naiike : his Pw. 
^ adaperta Gronovius : adoperta Pu. 

* mitior w : ianitor P : Garrod conj. inaniter. 

" Referring to her power of changing men into beasts (lit. 
" disguising " them as beasts). 

* Harmonia, wife of Cadmus. They were changed into 


THEBAID, IV. 551-574 

Colcliian maiden, or the encliantress" Circe on the 
Aeaean strand. Then with these words she ad- 
dressed her priestly sire : " First from the blood- 
red lake doth Cadmus raise his strengthless head, 
and the daughter of Cytherea ^ folloM's hard upon 
her spouse, and from their head twin serpents 
drink. The earth-born company, seed of Mars, 
throng round them, whose span of life one day did 
measure, and every hand is on its weapon, yea, on 
the sword-hilt ; they repel and bar approach, and 
rush to combat with the fury of living men, nor care 
they to stoop to the gloomy trench, but thirst to 
drain each other's blood. Near by is a band of 
Cadmus' daughters and the sons they mourned. 
Here we behold bereaved Autonoe '' and panting 
I no, looking back at the bow and pressing her sweet 
pledge to her bosom, and Semele with arms held 
out to protect her womb. With shivered wands 
and bosom bare and bleeding, the frenzy of the god 
now spent, doth his mother, Cadmus' daughter, 
follow Pentheus with wailing cries ; but he fleeth 
bv Lethe's pathless region even beyond the Stygian 
lakes, where his kindlier sire Kchion weeps over 
him and tends his mangled body. Sad I^ycus '' too, 
I recognize, and the son of Aeolus/' his right arm 
bent behind him, and a corpse thrown upon his laden 
shoulder. Nor yet doth that one change his appeai'- 
ance or the reproach of his transformation, even 
Aristaeus' son ^ : the horns roughen his brow, 
while spear in hand he repels the hounds agape to 

" Mother of Actaeon (iii. 201). She and Ino, Semele and 
Agave (565) were all daughters of Cadmus. 
"^ A Theban king, slain by Hercules. 

' Athanias, who slew his son Learchus. ^ Actaeon. 



ecce autem magna subit invidiosa caterva 575 

Tantalis et tumido percenset funera luctu, 
nil deiecta malis ; iuvat eifugisse deorum 
numina et insanae plus iam permittere linguae." 

Talia dum patri canit intemerata sacerdos, 
illius elatis tremefacta adsurgere vittis 580 

canities tenuesque impelli sanguine vultus. 
nee iam firmanti baciilo nee virgine fida 
nititur, erectusque solo "desiste canendo, 
nata" ait, "externae satis est mihi lucis, inertes 
discedunt nebulae, et vultum niger exsilit^ aer. 585 
umbrisne an supero dimissus Apolline complet 
spiritus ? en video quaecumque audita, sed ecce 
maerent Argolici deiecto lumine manes ! 
torvus Abas Proetusque nocens mitisque Phoroneus 
truncatusque Pelops et saevo pulvere sordens 590 
Oenomaus largis umectant imbribus ora. 
auguror hinc Thebis belli meliora. Quid autem 
hi grege condenso, quantum arma et vulnera mon- 

pugnaces animae, nobis in sanguine multo 
oraque pectoraque et falso clamore levatas 595 

intendunt sine pace manus ? rex, fallor, an hi sunt 
quinquaginta illi ? cernis Chthoniumque Chrominque 
Phegeaque et nostra praesignem Maeona lauro. 
ne saevite, duces, nihil hie mortalibus ausum, 
credite, consiliis : hos ferrea neverat annos 600 

1 exsilit Alton : exiiit Pu, exserit Lachmann, iclio cp. 
Silv. V. 3. 104. 

" Niobe. 

'' Pelops was said to have been cut up and boiled by his 
father Tantalus as a dish for the gods ; they, however, put 

THEBAID, IV. 575-600 

I'end him. But lo ! with numerous train comes the 
jealous TantaHd," and proud in her grief counts o'er 
the bodies, nought humbled by her woes ; she 
rejoices to have escaped the power of heaven, and 
now to give freer rein to her mad tongue." 

While the chaste priestess thus recounts the tale 
to her father, his hoary locks trembling rise erect 
with lifted chaplet, and his pale visage throbs with 
a rush of blood. No longer rests he on the supporting 
staff or faithful maiden, but standing upright cries : 
" Cease thy song, my daughter, enough have I of 
external light, the sluggish mists depart, black 
night flees from my face. Comes it from the shades 
or from Apollo on high, this flooding inspiration ? 
Lo ! I behold all that thou didst tell me of. Behold ! 
there mourn the Argive ghosts with eyes downcast ! 
grim Abas, guilty Proetus and gentle Phoroneus, 
and Pelops maimed ^ and Oenomaus soiled with 
cruel dust, all bedew their faces with plenteous 
tears. Hence do I prophesy for Thebes a favouring 
issue of the war. But what means this dense throng 
of warrior-souls, for such their wounds and weapons 
prove them ? Why show they gory faces and breasts, 
and with unsubstantial clamour raise and shake at 
me threatening arms ? Do I err, O king, or are 
these that band of fifty ''' ? Chthonius thou dost 
behold, and Chromis and Phegeus and Maeon 
distinguished by my laurel. Rage not, ye chieftains, 
no mortal, believe me, dared that enterprise ; 
'twas iron Atropos span you those destined years. 

him together again, with the exception of one shoulder, 
which was replaced by one of ivory. 

" i.e.. the fifty who were sent by Eteocles to lie in wait for 
Tydeus, but slain l)v him, rf. ii. 527 fP. 



Atropos. existis casus : bella liorrida nobis, 
atque iterum Tydeus." dicit, vittaque ligatis 
frondibus instantes abigit monstratque cruorem. 
Stabat inops comitum Cocyti in litore maesto 
Laius, immiti queni iam deas ales Averno 605 

reddiderat, dirumque tuens obliqua nepoteni — 
noscit enim vultu — non ille aut sanguinis haustus, 
cetera ceu plebes, aliumve accedit ad imbrem, 
immortale odium spirans. sed prolicit ultro 
Aonius vates : " Tyriae dux inclyte Thebes, 610 

cuius ab interitu non ulla Amphionis arces 
vidit arnica dies, o iam satis ulte cruentum 
exitium et multum placata minoribus umbra, 
quos miseranda fugis ? iacet ille in funere longo, 
quern fremis, et iunctae sentit confinia mortis, 015 
obsitus exhaustos paedore et sanguine vultus 
eiectusque die : sors leto durior omni, 
crede mihi ! quaenam immeritum vitare nepotem 
causa tibi ? confer vultum et satiare litanti 
sanguine venturasque \aces et funera belli 620 

pande vel infensus vel res miserate tuorum. 
tunc ego te optata vetitam transmittere Lethen 
puppe dabo placidumque pia tellure reponam 
et Stvgiis mandabo deis." mulcetur honoris 
muneribus tingitque genas, dein talia reddit : 625 
" cur tibi versanti manes, aequaeve sacerdos, 

" The ghosts were to drink of the blood which would 
enable them to speak of the future. In fact only Laius 
drinks ; rf. line ^2o^ where " tingit genas " means that the 
invigorating blood makes his cheeks ruddy and lifelike. 

* Laius in Bk. ii. (init.) had been brought from the 
underworld to appear to Eteocles in a dream. 

" i.e., Oedipus, his son, who slew him. 


THEBATD. IV. ooi-62r. 

Ye have fulfilled your fate ; for us cruel war remains, 
and Tydeus yet again." He spake, and as they 
swarmed upon his wool-bound chaplets he drove 
them off and pointed them to the blood." 

Reft of his comrade ghosts stood Laius on Cocytus' 
dreary strand — for already had the winged god 
restored him to unpitying Avernus '' — and glancing 
sidelong at his dire grandson, for he knew him by 
his face, came not like the rest of the multitude to 
drink the blood or the other outpourings, but breathed 
immortal hatred. But the Aonian seer delays not 
to lure him forward : " Renowned prince of Tyrian 
Thebes, since whose death no day has looked with 
kindly aspect on Amphion's citadel, O thou who 
hast now enough avenged thy bloody murder, O 
shade to whom thy issue have made full atonement, 
whom dost thou fly, unhappy one ? He '' against 
whom thou ragest lies a living corpse, and feels 
Death joined with him in linked companionship, his 
sunken visage besmeared with blood and filth, and 
all the light of day put out. Trust me, 'tis a fate 
fiir worse than any dying ! What cause hast thou 
to shun thy innocent grandson ? Turn thy gaze 
hither, and take thy fill of sacrificial blood ; then 
tell the chances that shall be, and the war's victims, 
whether thou art in hostile mood or pityest thy 
kindred's fortunes. Then will I grant thee to cross 
forbidden Lethe in the bark thou dost desire, and 
set thee again at peace in the blessed land, in the 
safe keeping of the gods of Styx." Soothed is he 
by the proffered honour, and brings the colour to 
his cheeks,"^' then thus replies : " Why, when thou 
wert marshalling the spirits, O prophet equal to me 
'' See note a. 



lectus ego augurio tantisque potissimus umbris, 
qui Ventura loquar ? satis est meminisse priorum. 
nostrane praeclari, pudeat, consulta nepotes 
poscitis ? ilium, ilium sacris adhibete nefastis. 630 
qui laeto fodit ense patrem, qui semet in ortus 
vertit et indignae regerit sua pignora matri. 
et nunc ille deos Furiarumque atra fatigat 
concilia et nosti'os rogat liaec in proelia manes, 
quodsi adeo placui deflenda in tempora vates, 635 
dicam equidem, quo me Lachesis, quo torva Megaera 
usque sinunt : bellum, innumero venit undique bellurn 
agmine, Lernaeosque trahit fatalis alumnos 
Gradivus stimulis ; hos terrae monstra deumque 
tela manent pulchrique obitus et ab igne supremo 640 
sontes lege morae. certa est victoria Thebis. 
ne trepida, nee regna ferox germanus habebit, 
sed Furiae geminumque nefas. miserosque per enses. 
ei mihi ! crudelis vincit pater." haec ubi fatus, 
labitur et flexa dubios ambage relinquit. 645 

Interea gelidam Nemeen et conscia laudis 
Herculeae dumeta vaga legione tenebant 
Inachidae ; iam Sidonias avertere praedas, 
sternere, ferre domos ardent instantque. quis iras 
flexerit, unde morae, medius quis euntibus error, 650 
Phoebe, doce : nos rara manent exordia famae. 

" i.e., the Argives. 

* Oracular reference to the fate of Amphiaraus (swallowed 
up by the earth), Capaneus (struck by lightning), and the 
other heroes, and to Eteocles' decision to refuse burial to 
the Argive slain. Cf. Ach. i. 526. 

THEBAID, IV. 627-651 

in years, why was I chosen, first out of so many 
shades, to speak augury and to foretell what shall 
befall ? 'Tis enough to have remembrance of the 
past. Seek ye my counsel, illustrious grandsons ? 
nay, shame upon you ! Him summon ye, him, to 
your unhallowed rites, who gladly pierces his father 
with the sword, who turns him to the place of his 
begetting, and casts back upon his innocent mother 
her own dear pledge of love. And now he wearies 
the gods and the dark councils of the Furies, and 
supplicates my shade for the coming strife. But 
if I have found such favour as a prophet of these 
times of woe, I will speak, so far as Lachesis and 
grim Megaera suffer me : War cometh from every 
side, of countless hosts, Gradivus sweeps on the 
sons of Lerna " before the goads of fate ; them there 
await portents of the earth, and weapons of heaven, 
and glorious deaths, and unlawful withholdings from 
the final fire.** Victory is sure for Thebes, doubt it 
not, nor shall thy fierce kinsman have thy realm ; 
but Furies shall possess it, and twofold impious 
crime, and alas, in your unhappy swords your cruel 
father triumphs." So speaking he faded from their 
sight, and left them in doubt at his mazy riddling 

Meanwhile the sons of Inachus with scattered 
troop had reached cool Nemea and the glades that 
witness to Hercules' renown ; already they burn 
with eagerness to drive off Sidonian plunder, to 
destroy and ravage homesteads. Say thou, O 
Phoebus, who turned them from their path of anger, 
whence came their staying, and how in mid course 
they wandered from the way ; to us but scant 
beginnings of the tale remain. 



Marcidus edoniito bellum referebat ab Haemo 
Liber ; ibi armiferos geminae^ iam sidera^ brumae 
orgia ferre Getas canumque virescei-e dorso 
Othryn et Icaria Rhodopen adsueverat umbra, 655 
et iam pampineos materna ad moenia currus 
promovet ; efFrenae dextra laevaque secuntur 
lynces, et uda mero lambunt retinacula tigres, 
post exsultantes spolia armentalia portant 
seminecesque lupos scissasque Mimallones m-sas. 660 
nee comitatus iners : sunt illic Ira Furorque 
et Metus et Mrtus et numquam sobrius Ardor 
sueciduique gradus et castra simillima regi. 
isque ubi pulverea Nemeen efFervere nube 
conspicit et solem radiis ignescere ferri,^ 665 

necdum compositas belli in certamina Thebas, 
concussus visis, quamquam ore et pectore marcet, 
aeraque tympanaque et biforem reticere tumultum 
imperat, attonitas qui circum plurimus aures, 
atque ita : "me globus iste meamque exscindere 
gentem 670 

apparat ; ex longo recalet furor ; hoc mihi saevum 
Argos et indomitae bellum ciet ira novercae. 
usque adeone parum cineri data mater iniquo 
natalesque rogi quaeque ipse micantia sensi 
fulgura ? relliquias etiam fusaeque sepulcrum 675 
paelicis et residem ferro petit impia Theben. 

^ geminae cj : gelidae P. ^ sidera P : sidere w. 

^ solem radiis ignescere ferri Pw : soils . . . ferrum 
Madvig, silvam Koestlin, frondem Slater, pallescere Garrod 
{cf. 171), etc. A similar p/irase occurs x. 844-. 

" That of the vine, which Icarus of Sparta was taught by 
Bacchus to cultivate. 

** " Mimallones," i.e.. Bacchanals. 


THEBAID, IV. 052-07(5 

In drunken languor Liber was bringing back his 
array of war from conquered Haemus ; there had 
lie taught the warrior Getae, two winters through, 
to hold the orgies, and white Othrys to grow green 
along his ridges and Rhodope to bear Icarian shade ; " 
already he draws nigh in his chariot decked with 
vine-leaves to his mother's city ; wild lynxes bear 
him company to right and left, and tigers lick the 
wine-soaked reins. In his train exulting Bacchanals ^ 
carry their spoil of beasts, half-dead wolves and 
mangled she-bears. No sluggish retinue is his : 
Anger and Fury are there, and Fear and Valour, 
and Ardour never sober, and steps that stagger, an 
army most like to its prince. But when he sees the 
cloud of dust surge up from Nemea, and the sun 
kindling on the flashing steel, and Thebes not yet 
marshalled for battle, horror-struck at the sight, 
though faint and reeling, he commands the brazen 
cymbals and the drums and the noise of the double 
pipe, screaming loudest about his astonished ears, 
to be silent, and thus speaks : " Against me and 
my race doth that host plan destruction ; after 
long time their rage gains violence anew ; savage 
Argos and my stepmother's indomitable wrath are 
stirring up this war. Doth it not even yet suffice — 
my mother's cruel burning, the natal pyre, and the 
lightning-flash that I myself perceived ? Nay, even 
against the relics and the tomb of her consumed rival, 
against idle Thebes doth she make impious attack.'' 

" The reference is to Semele, mother of Bacchus, to whom 
she gave birth when struck by Jove's lightning. " residem " 
seems to mean '* unwarlike," often a taunt in the mouths 
of enemies of Thebes, here a reproach against Argos for 
attacking her, as she is doing Argos no harm. 



nectam fraude moras ; ilium, ilium tendite campum, 
tendite, io, comites." Hyrcanae ad signa iugales 
intumuere iubas, dicto prius adstitit arvis. 

Tempus erat,medii cum solem in culminamundi 680 
tollit anliela dies, ubi tardus hiantibus arvis 
stat vapor atque omnes admittunt aethera luci. 
undarum vocat ille deas mediusque silentum 
incipit : " agrestes fluviorum numina Nymphae 
et nostri pars magna gregis, perferte laborem, 685 
quern damus. Argolicos paulum mihi fontibus amnes 
stagnaque et errantes obducite pulvere rivos. 
praecipuam Nemeen, qua nostra in moenia bellis 
nunc iter, ex alto fugiat liquor ; adiuvat ipse 
Plioebus adhuc summo, cesset ni vestra voluntas, 690 
limite ; vim coeptis indulgent astra, meaeque 
aestifer Erigones spumat canis. ite volentes, 
ite in operta soli ; post vos ego gurgite pleno 
eliciam, et quae dona meis amplissima sacris, 
vester habebit honos, nocturnaque furta licentum 695 
cornipedum et cupidas Faunorum ai'cebo rapinas." 
dixerat ; ast illis tenuis percurrere visus 
ora situs, viridisque con:iis exhorruit umor. 
protinus Inacliios haurit sitis ignea campos : 
diffugere undae, squalent fontesque lacusque, 700 
et cava ferventi durescunt flumina limo. 
aegra solo maeies, tenerique in origine culmi 
inclinata seges, deceptum margine ripae 

" The Hyrcanians were a people on the Caspian ; the 
name is often used by the poets = " wild, savage." 

* Because the sun pierces through them. 

'■ Named Maera, and set in the heavens as the Dog-star, 
after the death of Erigone from grief for her father Icarius. 

THEBAID, IV. 677-703 

By craft will I contrive delay ; hasten then thither, 
ho ! my comrades, thither to yon plain ! " At 
tb.e signal the Hyrcanian " team pricked up their 
crests, and, the word scarce spoken, he halted at 
his goal. 

It was the hour when panting day uplifts the sun 
to the mid summit of the world, when the languid 
heat hangs over the gaping fields, and all the 
groves let in the sky.^ He summons the spirits of 
the waters, and as they throng round him in silence 
he begins : " Ye rustic Nymphs, deities of the 
streams, no small portion of my train, fulfil the task 
that I now do set you. Stop fast with earth awhile 
the Argolic river-springs, I beg, and the pools and 
running brooks, and in Nemea most of all, whereby 
they pass to attack our walls, let the water flee 
from the depth ; Phoebus himself, still at the summit 
of his path, doth aid you, so but your own will fail 
not ; the stars lend their strong influence to my 
design, and the heat-bringing hound of my Erigone " 
is foaming. Go then of your goodwill, go into the 
hidden places of earth ; afterwards will I coax you 
forth with swelling channels, and all the choicest 
gifts at my altar shall be for your honour, and I will 
drive afar the nightly raids of the shameless horn- 
footed ones, and the lustful rapine of the Fauns." 

He spoke, and a faint blight seemed to overspread 
their features, and the moist freshness withered 
from their hair. Straightway fiery thirst drains dry 
the Inachian fields : the streams are gone, fountains 
and lakes are parched and dry, and the scorched 
mud hardens in the river-beds. A sickly drought 
is upon the soil, the crops of tender springiilg wheat 
droop low ; at the edge of tlie bank the flock stands 

ST ATI us 

stat pecus, atque armies quaerunt armeiita natatos. 

sic ubi se magnis refluus suppressit in antris 705 

Nilus et Eoae liquentia pabula brumae 

ore premit, fumant desertae gurgite valles 

ct patris undosi sonitus exspectat hiulca 

Aegyptos, donee Phariis alimenta rogatus 

donet agris magnumque inducat messibus annum. 710 

Aret Lerna nocens, aret Lyrcius et ingens 
Inachus advolvensque natantia saxa Charadrus 
et numquam in ripis audax Erasinus et aequus 
fluctibus Asterion, ille alta per a\ia notus 
audiri et longe pastorum runipere somnos.^ 715 

una tamen tacitas sed iussu numinis undas 
haec quoque seer eta nutrit Langia sub umbra, 
nondum illi raptus dederat lacrimabile nomen 
Archemorus, nee fama deae ; tamen avia servat 
et nemus et fluvium ; manet ingens gloria Nympham, 
cum tristem Hypsipylen ducibus sudatus Achaeis 721 
ludus et atra sacrum recolet trieteris Ophelten. 

Ergo nee ardentes clipeos vectare nee artos 
thoracum nexus — tantum sitis liorrida torret — 
sufficiunt : non ora modo angustisque perusti 725 

faucibus, interior sed vis quatit ; aspera pulsu 
corda, gelant venae, et siccis cruor aeger adhaeret 
visceribus ; tunc sole putris, tunc pulvere tellus 
exhalat calidam nubem. non spumeus imber 

^ Seven lines, only found in L and regarded as spurious 
by all edd., are here omitted. 

" i.e., Nile, as source of Egypt's fertility ; so Tib. i. 7. 34 
" Nile pater." 

" The name means " Beginner of Doom," and denoted 
the beginning of doom for the Argive host. Cf. v. 64.7. 
Elsewhere the infant is called Opheltes. 

" i.e., when the Nemean festival is established with its 


THEBAID, IV. 704-729 

baffled, and the cattle seek in vain the rivers where 
they bathed. Even so, Avhen ebbing Nile buries 
itself in mighty caverns and gathers into its mouth 
the life-giving streams of Eastern winters, the flood- 
deserted valleys steam, Egypt gapes wide and waits 
expectant for the roar of her sire's waves," till by 
dint of many prayers he give sustenance to the 
Pharian fields and Ijring on a great year of harvest. 

Dry is guilty Lerna, dry Lyrcius and great Inachus, 
and Charadrus that rolls down boulders on his stream, 
bold Erasinus whom his banks ne'er contain, and 
Asterion like a billowy sea ; oft hath he been heard 
on pathless uplands, oft known to break the repose 
of distant shepherds. But Langia alone — and she 
by the god's command — preserves her waters in the 
silence of a secret shade. Not yet had slaughtered 
Archemorus ^ brought her sorrowful renown, no 
fame had come to the goddess ; nevertheless, in 
far seclusion, she maintains her spring and grove. 
Great glory awaits the nymph, when the toiling 
contests of Achaean princes and the four-yearly 
festival of woe shall do honour to sad Hypsipyle 
and holy Opheltes.'^ 

So then neither burning shields nor close-fitting 
breastplates have they power to carry — so fiercely 
doth fiery thirst"^ scorch them — not only their 
mouths and the throat's passage are parched, but 
a fever rages within, their hearts beat heavily, the 
veins are thick congealed, and the tainted blood 
cleaves to the dried-up tissues ; then the crumbling, 
sunburnt earth exhales a hot vapour. No rain of 

games in honour of Opheltes (the infant whom Hypsipyle 

nursed, and who was slain by the serpent). 

" For other descriptions of thirst rf. iii. 828, vi. 471, 
VOL. I 2o 56l 


manat equum : siccis inlidunt ora lupatis, 730 

ora catenatas procul exsertantia linguas ; 
nee legem dominosve pati, sed perfurit arvis 
flammatum pecus. hue illuc impellit Adrastiis 
exploratores, si stagna Licymnia restent, 
si quis Amymones superet liquor : omnia caecis 735 
ignibus hausta sedent, nee spes umentis Olympi, 
ceu flavam Libyen desertaque pulveris Afri 
conlustrent nullaque umbratam nube Syenen. 

Tandem inter silvas — sic Euhius ipse pararat — 
errantes subitam pulehro in maerore tuentur 740 

Hypsipylen ; illi quamvis et ad ubera Opheltes 
non suus, Inacbii proles infausta Lycurgi, 
dependet — neglecta comam nee dives amictu — 
regales tamen ore notae, nee mersus aeerbis 744 

exstai: honos. tune haec adeo stupefaetus Adrastus : 
'• diva potens nemorum — nam te vultusque pudorque 
mortali de stirpe negant — , quae laeta sub isto 
igne poli non quaeris aquas, sueeurre propinquis 
gentibus : Arquitenens seu te Latonia easto 
de grege transmisit thalamis, seu lapsus ab astris 750 
non humilis fecundat amor — neque enim ipse deorum 
arbiter Argolidum thalamis novus — , aspiee maesta 
agmina. nos ferro meritas exseindere Thebas 
mens tulit, imbelli sed nunc sitis aspera fato 
submittitque animos et inertia robora carpit 755 

da fessis in rebus opem, seu turbidus amnis, 
seu tibi foeda palus ; nihil hac in sorte pudendum, 

" King of Nemea. Hypsipyle was daughter of Thoas, 
king of Lemnos. For her story see her own narrative in 
Bk. iv. 

* Adrastus mistakes her for Diana. 


THEBAID, IV. 730-757 

foam falls from the horses' mouths, their jaws close 
on dry bits, and far out hang their bridled tongues ; 
no restraint of their masters do they suffer, but 
scour the plain, maddened by the fiery heat. This 
way and that Adrastus sends scouts to discover if 
the Licymnian lakes yet remain, or aught of Amy- 
mone's waters, but all lie drained by fire unseen, 
nor is there hope of moisture from Olympus, as 
though they ranged yellow Libya and Africa's 
desert sand and Syene shaded by no cloud. 

At length wandering in the woodland — for so had 
Euhius himself devised — they behold on a sudden 
Hypsipyle, beauteous in her grief; at her breast 
Opheltes hangs, not her own child, but the ill-starred 
offspring of Inachian Lycurgus " ; dishevelled is her 
hair and poor her raiment, yet in her countenance 
are marks of kingly birth, and a dignity not over- 
whelmed by a bitter lot. Then Adrastus, awe- 
struck, thus addressed her : " Goddess, queen of 
the woodlands ^ — for thy countenance and honourable 
bearing proclaim thee of no mortal birth — thou who 
beneath this fiery vault art blest in needing not to 
search for water, succour a neighbouring people ; 
whether the Wielder of the Bow or Latona's daughter 
hath set thee in the bridal-chamber from her chaste 
company, or whether it be no lowly passion but one 
from on high doth make thee fruitful — for the ruler 
of the gods himself is no stranger to Argive bowers — 
look upon our distressed ranks. Us hath the resolve 
to destroy guilty Thebes with the sword brought 
hither, but the unwarlike doom of cruel drought 
doth bow our spirits and drain our exhausted strength. 
Help thou our failing fortunes, whether thou hast 
some turbid river or a stagnant marsh ; nought is 
20 2 563 


nil humile est ; tu nunc Ventis pluvioque rogaris 
pro love, tu refugas vires et pectora bellis 
exanimata reple : sic hoc tibi sidere dextro 760 

crescat onus, tantum reduces det flectere gressus 
luppiter, o quanta belli donabere praeda ! 
Dircaeos tibi, diva, greges numerumque rependam 
sanguinis, et^ magna lucus signabitur ara." 
dixit, et orantis media inter anhelitus ardens 765 

verba rapit, cursuque animae labat arida lingua ; 
idem omnes pallorque viros flatusque soluti 
oris habet. reddit demisso Lemnia vultu : 
" diva quidem vobis, etsi caelestis origo est, 
unde ego ? mortales utinam baud transgressa fuissem 
luctibus ! altricem mandati cei-nitis orbam 771 

pignoris ; at nostris an quis sinus uberaque ulla, 
scit deus, et nobis regnum tamen et pater ingens — • 
sed quid ego haec, fessosque optatis demoror undis ? 
mecum age nunc, si forte vado Langia perennes 775 
servat aquas ; solet et rabidi sub limite Cancri 
semper, et Icarii quamvis iuba fulguret astri, 
ire tamen." simul haerentem, ne tarda Pelasgis 
dux foret, a ! miserum vicino caespite alumnum — 
sic Parcae volvere — locat ponique negantis^ 780 

floribus adgestis et amico murmure dulces 
solatur lacrimas : qualis Berecyntia mater, 

^ sanguinis et P : plebis et hie w. 

^ ponique negantis L Schol. Gronovlus Bentley. ponitque 
negantem Pw, 

" See note on line 692. 

THEBAID. n'. 758-782 

to be lield shameful, nought too mean in sucli a 
pass as ours. Thee now in phice of the Winds and 
rainy Jupiter do we suppHcate, do thou restore our 
ebbing might and fill again our spiritless hearts ; 
so may thy charge grow under suspicious stars ! 
Only let Jupiter grant us to return, what high-piled 
booty of war shalt thou be given ! With the blood 
of numerous herds of Dirce will I recompense thee, 
O goddess, and a mighty altar shall mark this 
grove." He spoke, but a fevered gasping makes 
havoc of his words even in mid-utterance, and with 
the rush of breath his dry tongue stutters ; a like 
pallor holds all his warriors, and like panting of the 
hollow cheeks. W^ith downcast eyes the Lemnian 
makes answer : " No goddess indeed am I, to help 
you, though of heaven be my descent ; would that 
my griefs were not more than mortal ! 'Tis an 
entrusted pledge you behold me nursing, and a 
nurse herself bereaved. But whether my sons 
found any lap or breasts to suckle them, heaven 
knoweth, — and yet I had once a kingdom and a 
mighty father. But why do I speak thus, and 
stay you in your weariness from the waters ye 
desire ? Come now with me, perchance Langia's 
stream yet runs unfailing ; for even beneath the 
path of the furious Crab 'tis ever wont to flow, 
yea, though the shaggy hide of the Icarian star " 
be blazing." Forthwith, lest she prove a tardy 
guide to the Pelasgians, she sets down the clinging 
infant — alas ! poor child ! — on the grass near by 
— so willed the Fates — and when he would not be 
put down consoled his pretty tears with flowers 
heaped around and coaxing murmurs : like the 
Berecyntian mother, while she bids the Curetes 


ST ATI us 

duin parvum circa iubet exsultare Tonantem 

Curetas trepidos ; illi certantia plaudunt 

orgia, sed magnis resonat vagitibus Ide. 785 

At puer in gremio vernae-'^ telluris et alto 
gramine nunc faciles sternit procursibus herbas 
in vultum nitens, caram modo lactis egeno 
nutricem plangore ciens iterumque renidens 
et teneris meditans verba inluctantia labris 790 

miratur nemorum strepitus aut obvia carpit 
aut patulo traliit ore diem nemorique malorum 
inscius et vitae multum securus inerrat. 
sic tener Odrysia Mavors nive, sic puer ales 
vertice Maenalio, talis per litora reptans 795 

improbus Ortygiae latus inclinabat Apollo. 

Illi per dumos et opaca virentibus umbris 
devia ; pars cingunt, pars arta plebe sequuntur 
praecelerantque ducem. medium subit ilia per agmen 
non humili festina modo ; iamque amne propinquo 
rauca sonat vallis, saxosumque impulit aures 801 

murmur : ibi exsultans conclamat ab agmine primus, 
sicut erat levibus toUens vexilla maniplis 
Argus " aquae ! " longusque wum super ora cucurrit 
clamor " aquae ! " sic Ambracii per litora ponti 805 
nauticus in remis iuvenum monstrante magistro 
fit sonus inque vicem contra percussa reclamat 
terra, salutatus cum Leucada pandit Apollo, 
incubuere vadis passim discrimine nullo 
turba simul primique, nequit secernere mixtos 810 

^ vernae Poi : tenerae conj. Garrod : variae Klotz. 

" Delos. 
** The temple of Apollo at Actium on the Ambracian Gulf. 


THEBAID, IV. 783-810 

leap in excited dance around the infant Thunderer ; 
their cymbals clash in emulous frenzy, but Ida 
resounds with his loud wailings. 

But the child, lying in the bosom of the vernal 
earth and deep in herbage, now crawls forward on 
his face and crushes the soft grasses, now in clamorous 
thirst for milk cries for his beloved nurse ; again he 
smiles, and would fain utter words that wrestle with 
his infant lips, and wonders at the noise of the 
woods, or plucks at aught he meets, or with open 
mouth drinks in the day, and strays in the forest all 
ignorant of its dangei's, in carelessness profound. Such 
was the young Mars amid Odrysian snow, such the 
Avinged boy on the heights of Maenalus, such was 
the rogue Apollo when he crawled upon Ortygia's " 
shore, and set her side atilt. 

They go through the coppices and by devious 
dusky ways of shadowy green ; some cluster round 
their guide, some throng behind, othei's outstrip 
her. In the midst of the band she moves with 
proud mien and hurrying step ; and now the vale 
echoes loud as they approach the stream, and the 
f)lashing of water upon rocks assails their ears : 
then first from the column's head, just as he was, 
with banner raised high for the nimble companies, 
Argus exultant ci-ies " Water ! " and through the 
warrior's mouths ran the long-drawn shout of 
" Water ! " Even so, along the shores of the 
Ambracian sea, sounds forth at the helmsman's 
prompting the shout of the seamen at the oars, and 
in turn the smitten land sends back the echo, when 
Apollo ^ at their salutation brings Leucas into view. 
Into the stream the host plunged, indiscriminate 
and disordered, chieftains alike and common soldiers ; 


ST ATI us 

aequa sitis, frenata suis in curribus intrant 
arnienta, et pleni dominis armisque feruntur 
quadripedes ; hos turbo rapax, hos lubrica fallunt 
saxa, nee implicitos fluvio reverentia reges 
proterere aut mersisse vado clamantis amiei 815 

ora. fremunt undae, longusque a fontibus amnis 
diripitur, modo lene virens et gurgite puro 
perspicuus nunc sordet aquis egestus ab imis 
alveus ; inde tori^ riparum et proruta turbant 
gramina ; iam crassus eaenoque et pulvere sordens, 820 
quamquam expleta sitis, bibitur tamen. agmina bello 
decertare putes iustumque in gurgite Martem 
perfurere aut captani tolli vietoribus urbem. 
Atque aliquis regum medio circumfluus amni : 
silvarum, Nemea, longe regina virentum, 825 

lecta lovis sedes, quam tu non Herculis actis 
dura magis, rabidi cum colla comantia monstri 
angeret et tumidos animam angustaret in artus ! 
hac saevisse tenus populorum in coepta^ tuorum 
sufficiat ; tuque o cunctis insuete domari 830 

solibus, aeternae largitor corniger undae, 
laetus eas, quacumque domo gelida ora resolvis 
imrnortale tumens ; neque enim tibi cana repostas 
Bruma nives raptasque alio de fonte refundit 
Arcus aquas gravidive indulgent nubila Cori, 835 

sed tuus et nulli ruis expugnabilis astro. 

* tori P : toros w {sc. alveum). 
^ in coepta Schroder : incepta PI), incoepta BQN. 

" The river here is addressed in the masculine, as distinct 
from its nymph. 

* The idea of the rainbow sucking up moisture is common 
in Latin writers, «.^. "bihit ingens Arcus," Virg. G. i. 380, 
and Theh. ix. 405 ; the present passage is an original applica- 
tion of the idea. 

' The north-west wind. 


THEBAID, IV. 811-836 

levelling thirst makes no distinction in their confused 
ranks ; bridled horses with their chariots, chargers 
with armed riders all dash madly in. Some the 
flood whirls away, some lose their footing on the 
slippery rocks, nor have they shame to trample 
their princes as they wrestle with the torrent, or to 
sink beneath the stream the face of a friend who 
cries for succour. Loud roar the waves, while far 
from the fountain-head is the river plundered, that 
once flowed green and clear, with gentle lucid 
waters, but now from the depths of its channel is 
muddied and befouled. Then the sloping banks 
and torn herbage are mingled with the stream ; and 
now, though it be stained and filthy with mire and 
earth, and though their tliirst be quenched, yet 
they drink still. One would think armies strove in 
flght, or a pitched battle raged in the flood, or the 
conquerors were looting a captured city. 

And one of the princes, standing in the midst of 
the streaming river, cried : " Nemea, noblest by far 
of verdant glades, chosen seat of Jove, not even to 
the toils of Hercules wert thou more cruel, when he 
strangled the furious monster's shaggy neck, and 
throttled the breath within its swollen limbs. So 
far let it suffice thee to have vexed thy people's 
enterprise. And thou," whom no suns are wont to 
tame,0 horned one, so lavish of never failing waters, 
flow with prosperous current, from whatsoever 
storehouse thou settest free thy cooling springs, 
immortally replenished ; for hoary Winter pours 
not out for thee her laid-up snows, nor doth the 
rainbow shed waters stolen from another fount,'' nor 
do the pregnant storm-clouds of Corns '^ show thee 
favour, but thou flowest all thine own, and no star 


ST ATI us 

te nee Apollineus Ladon nee Xanthus uterque 
Spereheusque minax Centaureusque Lyeormas 
praestiterint ; tu paee mihi, tu nube sub ipsa 
armoruni festasque super celebrabere mensas — 840 
a love primus honos — bellis niodo laetus ovantes 
aecipias fessisque libens iterum hospita pandas 
flumina defensasque veils agnoscere turmas." 

" I.e., in the Troad or in Lycia. 

*" A river in Aetolia. As there is no known connexion 
between the river and any Centaur, the epithet may mean 
" Centaur-like," i.e., as furious as a Centaur. 


THEBAID, IV. 837-843 

can overcome thee or destroy. Thee neither Ladon, 
Apollo's river, shall surpass, nor either Xanthus," 
nor threatening Spercheus, nor Lycormas ^ of 
Centaur's fame ; thee will I celebrate in peace, thee 
beneath the very cloud of war, and at the festal 
banquet, ay, honour thee next to Jove himself — 
so but thou gladly receive our triumphing arms, 
and again be pleased to give the welcome of thy 
streams to our tired warriors, and recognize of thy 
grace the host thou once didst save." 


Printed in Cieai Britain hy R. & R. Ci.akk, LniiiED, Edinljirgh. 


Statius, Publius Papiniu£ 
Statius ' " 




cop, 2